Recently there was a press release regarding the second season of BBQ Pitmasters on the TLC network that left the BBQ world scratching our collective heads. A change in format from season one has everyone wondering what will happen to "our" show? The release talked about celebrity judges and a format that is reminiscent of the cook-off show that appeared a few years back (the one Mike Davis won) on the Versus network.
I have to admit at first I was a little disappointed at the news. After hearing John Markus on Greg Rempe's BBQ Central Radio Show, I have a better understanding why the change was made. Bottom line - it is a business. The ratings for season one were decent but not great. Football and the break out success of "Jersey Shore" made it an uphill climb. According to John, the network could not understand why the teams were not winning every week (Hey, welcome to the world of bbq!) and that the show was not good enough to support another season like the first. A compromise was made resulting in the change of the format.
Filming for season 2 started in Los Angeles yesterday. Four different teams will compete in 5 episodes with the winners competing against each other in the final episode. The celebrity judges are Myron Mixon, Southern Chef Art Smith and ex-NFL star Warren Sapp. The show's host will be Kevin Roberts (the French's mustard shooter) who has been described as a high enery ring-master. The teams that were selected will represent the the entire picture of competition barbecue. They were chosen for their TV appeal, energy and bbq competency (apparently our audition tape missed the mark or we wore out our welcome on season one, either way we needed some shtick and didn't have it.) John said we will see familiar faces and some that should have been on previous barbecue shows but were not.
Season 2 is scheduled to debut this August. Myron Mixon will be one of the remaining straws we can hold on to from the previous season. I am sure he will not disappoint us with his candid opinions, southern colloquialisms and colorful language. Unless someone turns in something completely awful, he should be a strong defender of the cooks to the other judges. That interaction will be fun to watch.
Regardless of what you think of the new format, the impact of season one has been very apparent as it has brought more new teams to the competition circuit this year than ever before. Though we may never see a series dedicated to competition barbecue like season one was, anything on television about barbecue is always good thing!
Good luck to all of the teams competing on season 2!