Andys Blog

Andy interviews eliminated Top Chef Cliff Crooks.

on Jan 18, 2007

Last night we broadcast the first episode of "Watch What Happens", our live web show featuring your questions for eliminated Top Chef Cliff Crooks and Judge/Food and Wine Empress Gail Simmons.  It was a little stressful given the incredibly sensitive nature of Cliff's dismissal from the show, which in itself was very upsetting and offputting. I worried about how he would react to seeing the episode for the first time and being thrust into a live interview, and potentially further upsetting situation.

By the way, I thought he was rightfully dismissed from the show; he broke the rules which state that harming or threatening another contestant can be grounds for dismissal. I also think he's a good guy who meant no harm to Marcel in what was essentially a stupid prank gone awry. The stupid prank, though, looked to me like a snuff film. It is almost disgusting to watch, especially given the Marcel-torture that's been building all season. All this was on my mind all day and I spoke to Cliff yesterday morning to take his temp about seeing said snuff film and then taking viewer q's. Cliff was a total pro. I think he understood that this was a perfect opportunity for him to go on the record and put to rest any lingering questions about his motives or sincerity.

I was excited to begin hosting the show, and also hilariously torn that I would be missing an "Inside the Actor's Studio" taping with Diana Ross because of "Watch What Happens". The term "Sophie's Choice" comes to mind. I've used it before and gotten slammed by posters for applying a serious metaphor to something frivolous, so I am going to go ahead and use it again. It was a Sophie's Choice between attending the Diana Ross taping and hosting the web show.

In the end, all the children lived. I went to see Miss Ross for 90 minutes and then headed to InteractiveLand at CNBC studios in New Jersey. Ross was fantastic and I was on the edge of my seat. I got there in time to see her soundcheck (she sang 8 songs) so I was in heaven. I'd gotten Ross superfan RuPaul tickets and he looked as engaged as me. I left right after they covered the Supremes era and I guess I'll have to see the show with everybody else on Febuary 19th to Watch What Happens! The live web show begins the moment Chef ends and the emails, texts, and calls came in fast and furious. The questions were fantastic and engaging. Someone asked about the "Lord of the Flies" mentality that's been developing against Marcel and how much peer pressure went into that. Another person asked Gail if Cliff would've been eliminated anyway just for his food. She said he probably would've.

We got calls from Boston to Missouri City, TX and each one tickled me. I love watching Larry King just to find out where people are calling from. I need to look at the show and make sure I am not more excited about the location of the calls than the questions themselves. We taped an "after the show" answering more questions that will go up hopefully in the next few days. I am anxious to hear what you thought of the show. When I got home, I was locked out of my apartment, and had an exciting "part 2" of my evening in which I had to find another place to sleep. Only in BravoLand, kids.....only in BravoLand!

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