Goodbye, soaps, hello, lifestyle: Tim Gunn, Mario Batali on tap for ABC daytime

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Less Susan Lucci, more Mario Batali.

ABC has just ripped up its daytime schedule with the announcement that long-running soap operas ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ will be gone by fall (the former) and January 2012 (the latter). Replacing those decades-old melodramas will be two upbeat, information-based shows devoted to food, health and makeovers starring TV personalities Batali, ‘What Not to Wear’s’ Clinton Kelly, fan favorite ‘Top Chef’ contestant Carla Hall and ‘Project Runway’ mentor Tim Gunn.

ABC executives said today’s audience craves lifestyle shows with a transformational bent, as opposed to the over-the-top soap genre, which has been losing viewers for many years.


Batali’s program, ‘The Chew,’ which isn’t a working title but should be, aims to cover food ‘from every angle -- as a source of joy, health, family ritual, friendship, breaking news, dating, fitness, weight loss, travel adventures and life’s moments.’

That seems to cover ground as varied as the latest nutrition studies or food recalls to liquid cleanses and exotic cuisine. It will feature Batali, Kelly, Hall, restaurateur Michael Symon from ‘Iron Chef America’ and nutrition expert Daphne Oz. The program comes from Gordon Elliot, the Emmy-winning producer responsible for ‘Paula Deen’s Home Cooking.’ Gunn and a crew that includes celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, ‘American Idol’ alum Kimberley Locke and various guest contributors will turn someone’s life around, whether the person needs help with style, finances, family or health. The show’s working title is ‘The Revolution,’ and it comes from JD Roth and 3 Ball Productions, home to the NBC mainstay ‘The Biggest Loser.’

The emphasis of the show may be on physical makeovers, where it will follow a woman’s five-month weight-loss journey with segments airing in five consecutive days. (The big reveal is on Fridays, but remember, those pounds didn’t come off in a single week).

‘The Chew’ is expected to launch in September, and ‘The Revolution’ will hit in January 2012.


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-- T.L. Stanley