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‘Top Chef’ Visits D.C., ‘Ice Road Truckers’ Returns

TLC renews ”Four Weddings,“ ABC Family debuts ”Huge,“ ABC adds ”No Ordinary Family,“ ”Damages“ team gets Sony deal and ”Rockford Files“ reboot needs rebooting

“Top Chef: Washington, D.C.” premieres Wednesday, June 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo, bringing together 17 new “chef’testants” in the nation’s capital.

Padma Lakshmi again presides over the competition, alongside returning head judge Tom Colicchio, chef-owner of the Craft restaurants, and judge Gail Simmons of Food & Wine magazine. Joining as a regular guest judge is Eric Ripert, chef-owner of New York City’s Le Bernardin.

Guests expected this season include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House chef Sam Kass, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), CIA Director Leon Panetta and NBC White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie.

Among the challenges featured: The chefs take over the concession stands at the Nationals stadium, go inside the CIA’s closely guarded headquarters and receive out-of-this-world direction – literally – on one challenge from a NASA astronaut orbiting Earth.

Magical Elves produces "Top Chef: Washington, D.C." Executive producers are Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Liz Cook and Casey Kriley; Chaz Gray is co-executive producer.

The chef’testants, who range in age from 24 to 51, are Alex Reznik, Amanda Baumgarten, Andrea Curto-Randazzo, Angelo Sosa, Arnold Myint, Ed Cotton, Jacqueline Lombard, John Somerville, Kelly Liken, Kenny Gilbert, Kevin Sbraga, Lynne Gigliotti, Stephen Hopcraft, Tamesha Warren, Tiffany Derry, Timothy Dean and Tracey Bloom. Learn more about them here.

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TLC has renewed new series “Four Weddings” for a second season, to premiere in September. The network ordered eight hourlong episodes for season two from producer ITV Studios.

Each episode follows four different brides, each with her own unique style and traditions, who agree to attend and judge each other’s weddings. The basis of their judging includes food, dress, venue and overall experience and originality. The winning bride is awarded a five-star dream honeymoon.

Original episodes in the first season averaged 1.1 million viewers among persons 2 and over.

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“Ice Road Truckers” returns to History on Sunday, June 6, at 9 p.m. ET/PT for its fourth season.

Facing their most difficult season yet on the ice are returning drivers Hugh Roland, Alex Debogorski, Jack Jesse and Lisa Kelly.

They’re joined by two new drivers: Ray, once an owner of his own Montana-based trucking company, who went bust during this recession, and Greg, the youngest and cockiest of the bunch, who may be helped or hindered by his extreme confidence.

This season, the hauls are the biggest the drivers have ever undertaken; they must drive dual trucks in order to get these important loads to their destinations. Drivers also will tackle the infamous Ice River, where fast-flowing water beneath the ice constantly weakens the road.

“Ice Road Truckers” is produced for History by Original Productions, a FremantleMedia company. Executive producers for Original are Thom Beers and Philip D. Segal; Jeff Conroy is co-executive producer. Executive producer for History is Charles Nordlander.

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ABC Family premieres “Huge,” a one-hour original scripted series based on Sasha Paley’s book of the same name, on Monday, June 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

“Huge” focuses on seven teens from different backgrounds attending a weight-loss camp and follows their emotional journeys as they deal with issues including self-esteem, friendship, rivalry, romance and body image.

Nikki Blonsky ("Hairspray") stars as Willamina, aka Will, an opinionated, sardonic nonconformist who is not happy that her parents sent her to Camp Victory, a weight loss camp run by Dr. Rand, played by Gina Torres. Rounding out the cast are Hayley Hasselhoff, Zander Eckhouse, Stephan Van Ray, Harvey Guillen, Ari Stidham, Raven Goodwin and Ashley Holliday.

“Huge” comes from Winnie Holzman ("Wicked," "My So-Called Life," "Once & Again") and her daughter, Savannah Dooley.

NHolzman and Kim Rozenfeld ("American High") are executive producers, with Dooley as producer. Alloy Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy also serve as executive producers.

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On the pilot front, the Hollywood Reporter says ABC has picked up "No Ordinary Family," starring Michael Chiklis ("The Shield") and Julie Benz ("Dexter").

The ABC Studios project is from Greg Berlanti ("Everwood," "Dirty Sexy Money") and writer Jon Feldman. It centers on a family that suddenly develops special powers and have to learn how to deal with their new abilities.

ABC also has picked up Matthew Perry starrer "Mr. Sunshine," "Detroit 187," "Better Together," "Happy Endings" and "Generation Y," according to the Reporter.

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“Damages” creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler signed an exclusive two-year deal with Sony Pictures Television, according to Variety.

Their KZK Productions is waiting to hear whether the Glenn Close drama has been picked up for a fourth season on FX. DirecTV reportedly is considering partnering with FX on the show, as it did with NBC on “Friday Night Lights.”

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NBC’s “Rockford Files” reboot is having some problems, according to Vulture.

With Dermot Mulroney slipping into James Garner’s iconic Malibu trailer, the show was among the season’s most hyped pilots. Produced by actor Steve Carell and “House” executive producer David Shore, it sounded like a shoo-in to make NBC’s fall lineup.

Until, that is, NBC saw the pilot. Vulture says the show won’t make the fall schedule unless it’s vastly different from what was shot, calling it “more rehash than reinvention.”

 

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