NBC announced it has ordered United Plates of America, a new reality competition series that will follow contestants as they vie for the opportunity to open a restaurant chain in four cities across the country.

The tentatively-titled series will begin with the contestants pitching their restaurant plans to a panel of investors, who will then put the participants and their ideas through a series of challenges designed to see which has the greatest potential for success.

The winner will be selected by a panel of "some of the most important names in both the dining and business worlds who will invest their own money in the final restaurant chain and have a huge stake in the game's winner," according to NBC.

"This is the first time the culinary and business worlds have come together in a big event series where the prize is one of the largest in reality TV history," said NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy.

"Not only will viewers get to watch the competition unfold, they'll be able to eat at the winning restaurant immediately after the show's finale."

United Plates of America is produced by Magical Elves and will be executive produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, the production company's co-founders.

The series is the latest project to result from the May 2008 exclusive first look development deal Magical Elves -- which also produces Bravo's Top Chef culinary competition -- announced with Bravo and NBC's NBC Universal parent company on the same day it also revealed it would not follow Project Runway to Lifetime from Bravo.  

"This show is going to make the American Dream come true for someone out there - all they need is one great idea," said Cutforth.

"With a prize of this magnitude, we believe this show will bring together everything we love about reality TV; creative passionate contestants, a dynamic panel of experts, and fierce competition," added Lipsitz.

Since the development deal, Magical Elves has continued to produce Bravo's Top Chef and its Top Chef Masters spinoff, which Bravo recently renewed for a second season.

In addition, Magical Elves is also producing Top Chef: Just Desserts --another recently-ordered Top Chef spinoff -- and has also taken over production of Dance Your Ass Off, which airs on NBC Universal's Oxygen cable network and is currently in production on its second season.

Casting information for United Plates of America is currently available via NBC's website.