SHUT IT DOWN: Volatile celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was apparently moved to weep in front of the cameras on his latest TV show, The F-Word, according to a story in The Independent. In an episode of the show — which remains unseen on this side of the Atlantic, alas — Ramsay took his pet pigs to an abattoir to be slaughtered, where he “saw the 24-monthold pigs stunned by an electric shock to the brain, before being shackled by the hind legs and hoisted to the ceiling. Their throats were then unceremoniously slit.”
“Not pleasant,” Ramsay said. “The whole operation is extraordinary. Quite emotional really. I felt sick as a ****ing dog in there. Next I will think of something really nice to cook with them. But it’s not a nice experience.” The first season of the show garnered complaints when a half-dozen turkeys he’d been raising — all of them named after other celebrity chefs — were slaughtered as part of an ongoing demonstration of how to make Christmas dinner from scratch.
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PETA, the animal rights protest group, encouraged Ramsay to show the abattoir process uncut, and a spokesperson for the group said that “Paul McCartney once said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” That might be true half the time, but it’s just as likely that they’d also attract a crowd as rapt and eager as World Cup fans outside the front of a Future Shop window.
PRETTY UGLY: The fall TV season hasn’t started yet, but already the networks are manoeuvring new shows all around the weekly schedule against each other, like one of those 3-D chess games that your geek older brother used to play with his Trekkie buddies.
Last week, ABC pulled a power move by shifting Ugly Betty, the English adaptation of a hit Colombian telenovela dubbed a “comic sudser” by Variety’s jargon machine, from a Friday night slot to a place on Thursday night’s much more auspicious fight card. The network was apparently encouraged by enthusiastic advance buzz from both critics and advertisers.
The switch will come as a relief to Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, the writer/producer couple behind movies such as What Women Want and 13 Going On 30, and executive producers of The King Of Queens. Until the switch, ABC had their new show Big Day in the Thursday time slot Ugly Betty has taken over, where it was going up against ‘Til Death on Fox, another new show written and produced by the couple, a veritable “Sophie’s Choice” conflict for the couple.