White's American TV debut gets the chop

Prime-time reality show pulled by NBC after scathing reviews and 'embarrassing' ratings

He was billed as the culinary genius who earned three Michelin stars aged 33 and, in the breathless words of Time magazine, "mentored both Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali". But Marco Pierre White's attempt to follow his former protégés to Hollywood superstardom appears to be collapsing like an overdone soufflé.

The British chef's debut US television show Chopping Block was unceremoniously dropped from its prime-time slot yesterday, less than a month after its high-profile launch, after both critics and audiences weaned on the saccharine conventions of American TV failed to warm to its host's grumpy disposition and ironic sense of humour.

NBC, the broadcaster that launched the reality cooking contest on a wave of hype, announcing that White aimed to take culinary TV "to a whole new level", quietly told advertisers that, as of next week, Chopping Block will disappear from its Wednesday night line-up.

The show had modest ratings when it debuted on 12 March but suffered mixed reviews. Swiftly declining audience numbers for its two subsequent episodes forced NBC to pull the plug. For the next few weeks it will be replaced with repeats of the detective drama Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

"Any way you slice it, Chopping serves tripe," was the stern verdict of The Washington Post after the first episode. The newspaper's influential TV critic, Tom Shales, billed the brooding White as: "A bloated and gloating bully who nibbles at dishes and either mildly praises or wildly assails those who threw them together."

The programme intended to follow eight pairs of chefs – married couples, siblings, or mother-and-daughter teams – as they attempted to restore the fortunes of an abandoned restaurant in New York. White didn't do any cooking but instead passed judgement on their food, and at the end of each episode voted for one unlucky pair to be eliminated.

Its format borrowed heavily from shows such as Hell's Kitchen, which has been successfully exported to the US by White's great rival Gordon Ramsay and remains a smash hit on NBC's rival network, Fox. This week Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares was renewed for a third series, and a new prime-time US show was announced. Meanwhile, his current series of Hell's Kitchen is pulling 8 million viewers.

White, by comparison, was struggling to attract 2.5 million. Chopping Block's fate was sealed on Thursday, when ratings for the previous night's episode came in, reported TV Week. "It dipped below a 1.0 rating for adults aged 18-49, immediately transporting its ratings from disappointing to embarrassing."

A spokesman for NBC has promised that already recorded episodes of Chopping Block will see the light of day "at some point".

White can draw somecomfort from the fact that several critics believed that the major problem with Chopping Block was its highly derivative format, rather than the host. During the first episode, one pair of contestants quit on the basis that they found the bitchy nature of the contest degrading.

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
Arts and Entertainment

Grace Dent on TV

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us