Terry Morrow: Alton Brown spills beans on upcoming 'Food Network Star'

Alton Brown, who visited Knoxville earlier this week, is embracing the upcoming edition of 'Food Network Star,' which starts Sunday.

Photo by SHNS file photo

Alton Brown, who visited Knoxville earlier this week, is embracing the upcoming edition of "Food Network Star," which starts Sunday.

After culinary wizard Alton Brown finished his Tennessee Theatre appearance this week, he started savoring the latest edition of "Food Network Star."

According to News Sentinel food writer Mary Constantine, Brown was not quick to give away a lot of detail about the new season, which launches Sunday night, but he did offer a few tidbits.

"The teams have been revealed online," Brown told her. "We sifted through hundreds of audition tapes and then held auditions for our top 20.

"We auditioned them live and from that we picked our teams. In some cases it was like a draft."

He and fellow judge Giada De Laurentiis saw many of the same contestants.

"There were some that were moved from one list to another based on whether they were a first, second or third pick. In the end I think I ended up getting three first picks, one second pick and one third," Brown said.

"It was very fair and amicable ... In some cases it was a matter of one person responding better to one mentor over another."

For the most part, the show is already in the can.

"We've already shot all but the final episode. In the end, whoever is left standing at the end of the competition, America will get to vote online for who they want to win," he said.

"So all I will say is that there are people left at 11 weeks, and they will get to make pilot snippet episodes of what their show might look like, and then America will get to vote for who they want.

"And I won't even tell you if any of my people made it to the end."

"Food Network Star" is one of the most popular competitions on the channel and also one of the longest-running ones.

Scorecard. If you were keeping score on what locals made the major network's fall schedules this week, here's a rundown.

Oak Ridge native Mitch Rouse is in the pilot for the ABC sci-fi comedy "The Neighbors," about aliens assimilating to life on Earth. Rouse will play a real estate agent in the comedy scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, following "Modern Family."

NBC selected former Knoxville resident Ryan Murphy's latest series (which he wrote and executive produces), a comedy called "The New Normal." It's the story of two gay men who take in their surrogate mother having their baby.

ABC passed on "American Judy" that co-starred Oak Ridge native Elaine Hendrix as a small-town sheriff.

ABC is also adding "Nashville," a country music drama, to its line-up. The series stars Connie Britton (of "Friday Night Lights" fame) as a fading country singer. Reba McEntire is returning to series TV in "Malibu Country," about the ex-wife of a country music star who leaves Nashville to start over. Lily Tomlin plays McEntire's mother.

Returning. You may remember him as the "Leave Britney Alone" guy from YouTube.

But now Chris Crocker from Bristol, Tenn., is the subject of a new documentary called "Me@The Zoo,” an Official Selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. It will air 9 p.m. Monday, June 25, on HBO.

The documentary chronicles his rough upbringing in East Tennessee and how the Internet changed his life, making him the subject of scorn and a gay icon.

Crocker claims he was bullied out of school in the eighth grade and was, by his account, raised by the Internet. His online videos have been viewed more than 270 million times to date — included the infamous 2007 “Leave Britney Alone” YouTube declaration.

He was 18 when the video made him a fleeting star. Now, at 24, he is carving a show business career out of it, including appearing in a Weezer music video.

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Comments » 1

jmgroper#472786 writes:

Terry late or confused? Next Food Network Star started LAST Sunday.

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