Today in TV news: Bionic chefs on the wire

 
 

We may be deep in the heart of winter, but TV execs are already dreaming up next season’s goodies, as evidenced by the following news.

Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef1. Bravo has announced that it has renewed Top Chef for a third season, so lesbian chefs take note: casting for the next season begins this month begins in Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. Go here to fire up your grills. Don’t let Josie Smith-Malave be the last lesbian on Top Chef! According to Nielsen, Top Chef averages about 1.2 million viewers per episode, which makes it the top-rated food series on cable. This season the series added some oomph to its Project Runway-style competition with a new host, cookbook author and wife of Salman Rushdie, former model Padma Lakshmi. She was a bit wooden at the beginning of the season, but I think she’s warming up to the gig now; in recent episodes she’s exuded a muted dominatrix vibe which, well, I can’t help but admire. It would be cool if she could wield some knives, too, but maybe that’s asking for too much.

2. NBC has announced that is has greenlit a one-hour pilot for a remake of The Bionic Woman, that 1970s series starring Lindsay Wagner as the tennis player-turned-superheroine:

Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman

The series will be revamped by David Eick, one of Battlestar Galactica‘s executive producers, so I have hope that this is going to be one kick-ass show. The pilot order is cast-contingent, which means they have yet to finalize who the new Bionic Woman shall be. What with the new TV version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the long-anticipated Joss Whedon reinvention of Wonder Woman, Kristanna Loken‘s upcoming Sci-Fi series Painkiller Jane, and the heroines of Heroes, it seems that the era of the female superhero is back in vogue with a vengeance. Looks like 2007 is going to be a great year!

Sonja Sohn on The Wire3. Last but not least, for those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to see The Wire because it’s been stuck on HBO, good news: BET is going to air all 50 episodes of the series, beginning with a mini-marathon of the first three episodes from Jan. 10-12 (9-10:30 p.m. every night). The series has often been proclaimed as being the best series on TV, but its complicated story lines have shut out many viewers. Which is too bad, because it also features Sonja Sohn as a Korean-African American, lesbian cop. You have no excuses anymore: Watch it!