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CULINARY HOPEFULS COMPETE FOR STARDOM IN THE RETURN OF FOOD NETWORK STAR

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Food Network’s competition series Food Network Star returns for a twelfth season on Sunday, May 22nd at 9pm ET/PT, with culinary icons Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay looking to discover the next promising food television star. Thirteen talented culinary hopefuls are put through the ringer this season, battling it out in challenges that not only test their kitchen skills but also their on-camera chops, to find out who has the talent and charisma to follow in Giada and Bobby’s footsteps and win the ultimate prize: their own Food Network show. New this year, Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen, co-hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and Tyler Florence, premieres on Sunday, May 8th at 8pm ET/PT, with seven former Food Network Star finalists returning to compete over three episodes for a coveted spot as the thirteenth finalist within season twelve’s premiere. Web-series Star Salvation, hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and last season’s Food Network Star winner Eddie Jackson, returns again to give one eliminated finalist the opportunity to rejoin the competition during the season. The Food Network Star season twelve winner will be crowned on Sunday, July 31st at 9pm ET/PT.

Starting May 8th on Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen, seven unforgettable former finalists enter the Star kitchen for another shot at stardom. When co-hosts Valerie Bertinelli and Tyler Florence introduce the first challenge, the competitors are forced to face their pasts by attempting to redeem the dish that was the downfall in their respective season. The alumni must then shoot a one minute “Where Are They Now?” video, updating viewers on what they’ve been up to and how they’ve improved since their Food Network Star appearance. Through three episodes, Valerie and Tyler determine who has earned a spot on the new season of Food Network Star.

In the May 22nd season premiere of Food Network Star, the finalists must shoot a 30-second screen test to give viewers a quick culinary preview of what they are all about. The videos debut during a VIP event at a luxury theater in Los Angeles in front of an audience; but when Bobby and Giada surprise the finalists with news that the Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen winner will also join the competition, how will they handle this twist? Comeback Kitchen hosts Valerie Bertinelli and Tyler Florence help Giada and Bobby decide who will be the first to be sent home. During the season the finalists encounter challenges that not only test their culinary skills, but also their on-camera presence, from trying their hand at delivering food reports for Entertainment Tonight co-hosts Nancy O’Dell and Kevin Frazier, to shooting a promo for their own show, the finalists are challenged to not only create great food but great TV.

“Viewers will be inspired watching these competitors pull out all the stops as they follow their dreams of becoming a Food Network Star,” said Didi O’Hearn, Senior Vice President Programming, Food Network & Cooking Channel. “With Bobby and Giada leading the action, joined by an amazing group of world-class guest judges, the suspense of the season will be rivaled only by the big personalities and talent these finalists display.”

The finalists competing this season are: Rob Burmeister (Staten Island, NY); Erin Campbell (Woodbury, MN); Damiano Carrara (Moorpark, CA); Aaron Crumbaugh (Spokane, WA); Tregaye Fraser (Atlanta, GA); Yaku Moton-Spruill (San Francisco, CA); Melissa Pfeister (Los Angeles, CA); Ana Quincoces (Coral Gables, FL); Monterey Salka (Nashville, TN); Joy Thompson (Thomasville, NC); Havird Usry (Augusta, GA); Jernard Wells (Atlanta, GA), and the winner of Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen. Comeback Kitchen competitors battling it out to join the new season are Penny Davidi (season 7); Matthew Grunwald (season 11); Martita Jara (season 8); Brianna Jenkins (season 6); Chris Kyler (season 10); Michele Ragussis (season 8) and Dominick Tesoriero (season 11).

Throughout the season, Bobby and Giada are joined by special guests who help determine who has what it takes to be the next face of Food Network including, Anne Burrell, Food Network Magazine Editor-in-Chief Maile Carpenter, Haylie Duff, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Guy Fieri, Duff Goldman, Hannah Hart, Robert Irvine, Ali Larter, Katie Lee, Tia Mowry, Lorraine Pascale, Rev Run, Aarti Sequeira, Donal Skehan, Trisha Yearwood and Internet stars Rhett & Link.

Web series Star Salvation returns on Sunday, June 12th and goes live just after Star’s east coast airing. Available on FoodNetwork.com/Salvation and hosted by last season’s Food Network Star winner Eddie Jackson and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, the six-episode culinary contest gives one eliminated finalist a chance to re-enter the competition. The winner will re-enter Food Network Star on Sunday, July 24th.

This season once again features a fully-integrated, multi-platform partnership with Volkswagen, woven throughout the season and helping to drive the action of this extraordinary competition. A Food Network Star must excel on many fronts, and having the right partners, tools and expert guidance in place allows this season’s group of finalists to compete at the level they need in their bid for stardom.

For more Food Network Star, fans can visit FoodNetwork.com/Star all season long for exclusive interviews, video, blogs, behind-the-scenes footage, photo galleries and more. Fans can also connect with each other and the show’s stars on Facebook at Facebook.com/FoodNetwork and on Twitter with the hashtag #FoodNetworkStar.

Food Network Star is produced by LEG/Triage Entertainment.

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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