Ramsay Appeals to Viewers Worldwide

Jul 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

With “Hell’s Kitchen” a smash success for Fox in the United States, the executives behind Chef Gordon Ramsay’s summer hit are happily bringing a lot of “Hell” to the rest of the world.
The series, under the amended title “Hell’s Kitchen USA,” has been sold to more than 100 territories worldwide, including Brazil, Finland, Benelux and across Asia and the Middle East.
“Hell’s Kitchen,” which continues to fire up Fox’s Monday night ratings—most recently claiming 7 million viewers and scoring as the top-rated show for the night in the key adult 18-49 demographic—has certainly made an international star of its controversial host.
“‘Hell’s Kitchen’ is really part of the bigger brand that is Gordon Ramsay,” said David Gyngell, CEO of Granada America, which produces and distributes the show. “He’s become a breakout international talent, and networks are trying to avoid [programming against] him now. With numbers this season being stronger than last season, we’ve got a real chance to have a long run here.”
Mr. Ramsay’s exacting attitude and flair for insults have made him appointment viewing around the world—and he has the potential for another hit series with Fox’s launch of “Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” this fall.
On the U.K.’s ITV2 in 2006, “Hell’s Kitchen USA” snagged a 7.32 percent of the audience share for viewers 16 to 34, according to BARB Consolidated Data; that’s more than three times the channel’s all-week prime-time average share for the year.
In Denmark, the show has proven a big hit for broadcaster TV3, with the series consistently hitting the channel’s list of top 10 shows of the week. In Canada, where the series is simulcast on City TV, the show ranks in the top 20 for the week on regional channels in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The list goes on.
“Restaurants and kitchens are great places for drama, and Gordon is able to harness that because everything he does is with a purpose,” said series executive producer Arthur Smith. “Gordon has a temper and a high standard for perfection, but people like that, they respond to someone who is so straightforward even when they get mad at him.”
“Hell’s Kitchen” was originally formatted for this country from the United Kingdom’s original version. In an unusual move for an exported British format, the U.S. version of the series then was imported back into the U.K. in a straight sale to ITV2.
While Granada has made a number of other international deals for the format of the show as well, most recently signing a deal with Israel’s Keshet Broadcasting for an adaptation on free TV station Channel 2, company executives acknowledge that Mr. Ramsay’s personality has made the U.S. version, which sells for significantly more money than the format, in demand around the world.
“This has been a show that travels, and we don’t necessarily need to put someone else in it,” said Nadine Nohr, managing director of Granada International.
In addition to “Kitchen Nightmares,” Granada is already at work on additional books based on “Hell’s Kitchen,” as well as a videogame, as it looks to extend the Ramsay brand. Granada Senior VP and series executive producer Curt Northrup noted Mr. Ramsay worked 56 straight days for the company taping the two shows, and is now in line to be shown on Fox for 28 straight weeks.
“Everybody is passionate about food, but Gordon and the crew of the show have been able to fine-tune the series to something very special, not only here but across the globe,” Mr. Northrup said.


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