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Food Network Producer Alleges He Was Cut Out of Spinoff Shows

Variety logo Variety 5/23/2017 Gene Maddaus
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The creator of the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” filed a lawsuit Monday, alleging that he was cut out of the production of two spinoff shows.

David Hoffman claims that he is entitled to compensation for the shows “Guilty Pleasures” and “Top 5 Restaurants.” He alleges that both shows derive from concepts he developed while producing two earlier Food Network shows, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and “The Best Thing I Ever Made.”

Hoffman filed suit against Authentic Entertainment, the production company behind each of the programs. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit claims that “Guilty Pleasures” is “a virtual carbon copy” of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

“Selected episodes have similar themes, if not the same themes,” the suit states. “Episodes feature similar talent (noted chefs and television food personalities), if not the same talent. Both ‘Guilty Pleasures’ and ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ are comprised of a variety of self-contained segments, each featuring a different contributor, who (in a fun, passionate, and somewhat confessional manner) discloses to an unseen, but sometimes heard, interviewer what he or she considers a favorite food within the scope of the show’s premise.”

Hoffman also contends that “Top 5 Restaurants” is based on ideas he developed while pitching ideas for a “reboot” of the original series to the Food Network.

Hoffman says he spent most of 2014 developing the reboot, which was to be called “The Meal That Changed My Life.” He says he was not paid for developing the show, which the Food Network ultimately passed on. A few weeks later, Hoffman learned that Authentic Entertainment would be moving forward with “Guilty Pleasures” and “Top 5 Restaurants,” but without Hoffman.

Hoffman says he had a meeting with a representative from the company, who vowed to “make this right.” But he says he was later told he would not be involved in the shows, and he was never compensated for them.

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