The Taste — the culinary competition reality show on ABC with the judges Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey — finished its tortuous eight-episode run last night to dismal ratings. And it's time to make the call: the show is officially Deathwatched.
The finale of the Taste scored a series-low 1.1 rating in the important adults 18-49 demo and a total of 3.36 million viewers. In comparison, the two-hour premiere of Hell's Kitchen scored a 2.2 with an average of 5.44 million viewers.
62% more people watched a tired, formulaic show with a shouty Scottish chef than the castrated platitudes of a very orange Anthony Bourdain and friends on the Taste. In comparison, one of the other primetime shows ABC aired — Celebrity Wife Swap with Alan Thicke and Gilbert Gottfried at 8 EST — earned 5 million viewers.
The winner of the Taste, Charlie Sheen's private chef, was actually sentenced to two years in state prison for felony possession of methamphetamines back in 2007 (she only served a day). It's pretty apt, since the TV executives who greenlit this mess must have been smoking something.
The first hint the show was in trouble was that the network didn't provide critic screeners of anything past the two-hour audition round premiere episode. And those initial reviews were not especially kind. The second hint was when the time slot was changed mid-season.
But here's another good example as to why the show will most likely not come back for a second season: Check out the Taste's Twitter and Facebook accounts. As of last night, right before the West coast airing of the finale, they've gone completely silent. This is the last tweet: "West coast, it's time! #TheTasteFinale" They haven't even bothered to announce the winner. ABC just shut it down.
The Taste joins Bravo's Life After Top Chef in the food television Deathwatch pool. Pack your knives the Taste, you have been chopped, you must leave the chateau, sashay, away.