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NBC exiles 'The Restaurant' return to Saturday evenings

By Reality TV World staff, 05/24/2004 

Apparently all is fair in love, war, and television scheduling as far as NBC is concerned.

Despite its vested interest in keeping Mark Burnett, the producer of its smash hit The Apprentice and upcoming The Contender series happy, adding insult to previous injury, NBC has announced that Burnett's The Restaurant, pulled from the airwaves two weeks ago, will air its remaining episodes on the broadcast wasteland known as Saturday nights.

The decision marks a reversal from NBC's previous announcement that the series, pulled for the May ratings sweeps period as a result of low ratings, would air restart its six-episode run from its first episode beginning on Wednesday, June 9 at 9PM. Instead, The Restaurant will resume mid-run, with its fourth and fifth episodes airing Saturday, May 29 from 8-10PM ET/PT and sixth and final episode airing Saturday, June 5 at 8PM ET/PT.

In the fourth episode, a beaten Rocco DiSprito, depressed by his ongoing power struggles with co-owner Jeffrey Chodorow, will find motivation from an unlikely source -- restaurant manager Laurent, who reenergizes Rocco via a brutal call to arms. In the fifth episode, while Jeffrey and his team are meeting to discuss giving head chef Tony a raise, Rocco fires him and attempts to wrest back control of the kitchen.

The following week, in the program's season finale (and, given its poor ratings and reports of the restaurant's upcoming closure, likely its series finale) Jeffery travels to Miami to continue his quest to search for the real killers... er... I mean a new chef. Then, in the show's final climax, Jeffery gives Rocco two options -- either buy Jeffery out of the business, or accept a check for several hundred thousand dollars and completely end his involvement with his namesake dream restaurant.

Of course, given our previous reports that the staff at "Rocco's on 22nd" has been saying that Jeffrey plans to close the place on June 1 and replace it with a Brazilian steak house, perhaps that last episode climax won't be quite the suspenseful nailbiter that Burnett envisioned when he originally edited the season's storyline. After all, if NBC hadn't pulled the program from the airwaves, its season finale would have aired already.

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