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Bravo renews 'Top Chef Masters,' adds Gail Simmons as new judge


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/22/2009 

Bravo announced that it has renewed Top Chef Masters for a second season that will add Top Chef judge Gail Simmons as a regular member of the spinoff's judging panel.

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Top Chef Masters, which pits critically-acclaimed chefs against each other in a tournament-style competition, aired its first edition on Bravo this past summer.  Rick Bayless defeated Hubert Keller and Michael Chiarello during the competition's final round.

The Top Chef spinoff averaged 2.22 million total viewers and 1.53 million viewers in the Adults 18-49 demographic during its 10-episode first season, ranking it as the highest-rated first season of a Bravo reality competition.

"In its freshman season, Top Chef Masters resonated with viewers and critics alike, as the best of the best faced each other in fiery competition," said Bravo executive Frances Berwick. 

"This season we're adding to the pot throwing in more acclaimed chefs -- let's see if they can stand the heat."

Kelly Choi will reprise her Top Chef Masters hosting role for the new season.  New York Magazine food critic Gael Greene, Saveur magazine editor-in-chief James Oseland, and British journalist and broadcaster Jay Rayner will all also return and join Simmons -- who has been a Top Chef judge since it premiered in 2006 -- as members of the second season's judging panel.

Top Chef Masters is produced by Magical Elves, with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as executive producers.

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