News broke a couple weeks back that Bravo's Top Chef, the king of reality food TV's very crowded hill, is busy shooting its next season in cities around Texas, including Dallas. And last week, things seemed to take a turn for the sinister, when Eater reported that a Dallas-based advertising company, TM Advertising, was helping the show shake down the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau in exchange for the show's producers, Magical Elves Productions, shooting on location there.
Houston said no, Eater reported. "But here's the bigger question," Eater wrote. "Did Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and the state of Texas use tax dollars to fund the next season of Top Chef?"
Dallas' answer: No, we didn't pay. But we still get to play.
Jennifer Smart, spokeswoman for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the producers did approach DCVB about ponying up cash in exchange for shooting here, but the bureau turned the show down.
Same goes for the Dallas Film Commission.
"That's pretty much how Top Chef works," Janis Burklund, the commission's director, told me this morning. She says the commission "went down a path with" the show a couple years back, and "the money they wanted was so crazy." She declined to say how much.
"They still wanted a lot on top of everything free," Burklund said. "It was really more than we can do."
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This time around, they approached the DCVB , who declined. But worry not, food-TV obsessives: There's still a chance you'll get to rub Colicchio's adorable little head sometime soon. Word is the state tourism office ponied up for the producers (I'm waiting on a call back from the state to find out how much taxpayers coughed up), and that crews are shooting in town this week.
Burklund wouldn't say where or what they're shooting -- "That's the stuff they really don't want out there" -- but she said the film commission is offering some assistance. Just not the cash kind.
"It's what we do," she said.
Due to the author being a complete moron, an earlier version of this article misidentified Burklund as someone totally different. We regret the error, because getting the names of people right is definitely in the top 25 of Important Journalism-y Things.