EXCLUSIVE: A buzzy British entertainment format that’s described as a cross between The Masked Singer and Hell’s Kitchen is the latest show to cross the pond after TBS ordered a U.S. version of Rat In The Kitchen.
Comedian Natasha Leggero is to host the 10-part series for the WarnerMedia-backed network with celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre as judge.
The series is produced by ITV America’s Thinkfactory Media and was devised by Glenn Hugill and his UK-based ITV-owned production company Possessed.
The series follows a group of cooks competing to win a cash prize across a series of challenges. However, all the while, one of them is trying to sabotage their efforts – the rat in the kitchen.
It is a whodunit cooking format and a game of high stakes cat and mouse where viewers get to play detective. In each episode, a mix of professional chefs and home cooks compete in a series of cooking challenges, earning cash in their bank for every dish that impresses Chef Ludo (left). But they’ll have to avert the meddling of an undercover mole (the rat) determined to sabotage the dishes and undermine their chances at victory. The stakes: if the rat avoids detection, he/she wins big money. But, if found out, the rat will have to hunt for cheddar elsewhere.
The project was first unveiled at the UK Screenings last February, before the Coronavirus pandemic ravaged the UK or U.S. Glenn Hugill, who runs Possessed TV and who played The Banker on the UK version of Deal Or No Deal, pitched it to international broadcasters at the event.
To illustrate the idea, Hugill played a clip from Hell’s Kitchen, which showed a cook trashing some perfectly edible monkfish because she thought that it was unsafe to consume. He asked the audience to look at the clip through the lens of Rat In The Kitchen and consider whether the chef had made a genuine mistake, or if she is the saboteur.
The BBC was also developing the project with a pilot shot last year.
Rat in the Kitchen is executive produced by Adam Reed, Adam Freeman, Simon Thomas, Bernie Schaeffer and Kenny Rosen for ITV America’s Thinkfactory Media, and by Glenn Hugill for Possessed. It is distributed internationally by ITV Studios.
“Rat in the Kitchen is by far one of the most clever formats we’ve ever heard,” said Corie Henson, EVP/Head of Unscripted Development, TNT, TBS, truTV. “It combines innovative cooking and everything you love about your favorite food shows, with a healthy serving of classic true crime whodunnit. Plus, Natasha and Ludo are the perfect recipe for a good time.”
Thinkfactory CEO Adam Reed added, “As a company with a history and ongoing focus on loud formats, Rat checks all of the boxes for us. The series blends familiar elements from different beloved unscripted genres to create something wildly unique and fresh, yet simple and straightforward. With Natasha and Ludo at its center and vibrant personalities competing throughout, episodes will have viewers laughing, drooling over enticing dishes and cringing at the chefs’ glorious failures – all while obsessing over finding the ‘rat.’”
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