A new version of 'Iron Chef'
"Iron Chef" is coming across the Pacific to stay.
The Food Network is going forward with a weekly "Iron Chef America" series on the heels of a successful set of specials in the spring. Ten episodes of the show will begin production next week in New York for a January premiere.
"We are thrilled to be able to bring the excitement of Kitchen Stadium and 'Iron Chef America' to our new studios," says Kathleen Finch, who oversees prime-time programming for the Food Network.
"This is the new era of 'Iron Chef,' and 'Iron Chef America' will continue to deliver the competitions and rivalries fans love."
The "Iron Chef America" specials, which brought the Japanese show's format and two of its chefs to the United States to battle Food Network stars Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck, drew strong ratings for the cable channel.
The network says more than 12 million people watched the battles over the course of their premiere weekend in April.
The new series will pit the American Iron Chefs against challengers from the United States and elsewhere. Flay and Batali will remain as Iron Chefs, while Masaharu Morimoto, an Iron Chef in the Japanese series who lives in the States, will replace Puck.
"Good Eats" host Alton Brown will continue his role as play-by-play man and commentator. Challengers lined up for the series include Ming Tsai, a former Food Network host himself, and Frontera Grill owner/chef/cookbook author Rick Bayless.