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‘Worst Cooks in America: Viral Sensations’ Coming to Food Network in January With Anne Burrell and Darnell Ferguson (Exclusive)

Competitors include the woman who went viral for putting Gorilla Glue in her hair

The next iteration of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” will find social media influencers and viral personalities putting their culinary skills (or lack thereof) to the test. “Worst Cooks in America: Viral Sensations” will premiere with a supersized 90-minute episode on Sunday, Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network and discovery+, TheWrap can exclusively reveal.

Chef Anne Burrell, who has been with the series since its inception in 2010, returns and is joined for the first time by Darnell Ferguson to lead culinary boot camp, where they “take on kitchen chaos, food fumbles and culinary confusion of these trending competitors.”

Competitors include the woman famous for putting gorilla glue in her hair, a paleontologist TikToker and comedian Rich Aronovitch.

Challenges this season are inspired by viral trends like Poke-Bowl-Go, Cake or Fake and Ice-Bucket trivia, and the most improved recruit at the end of the competition stands to win $25,000.

“Worst Cooks is always a fun way to kick off the New Year – and taking these social media stars offline and into the kitchen is hilarious to watch,” said Jane Latman, president of Home & Food Content and Streaming for Warner Bros. Discovery. “Darnell is the perfect new mentor to join Anne in boot camp – this season delivers laughs, drama and even culinary inspiration.”

The competitors are:

  • Comedian Rich Aronovitch @richisfunny (New York, New York)
  • “QuarantTeaTime” actor Michael Judson Berry @mjudsonberry (Jersey City, New Jersey) Tessica Brown, known for her Gorilla Glue hair mishap, @im_d_ollady (Violet, Louisiana)
  • Flight attendant-by-day David Chen @davidchenofficial (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • Singing sensation Naje Elmore @who_she_naje (Texarkana, Texas)
  • K-drama and K-pop enthusiast Tina Kim @kdramalogic (Los Angeles, California)
  • Puppeteer Adam Kreutinger @adamkreutinger (Williamsville, New York)
  • “Top 5 Hottest” trendsetter Paris Nicholson @parisnicholson (Miami, Florida)
  • Paleontologist TikToker Eliza Petersen @lizemopetey (West Jordan, Utah)
  • “Mr. Spooky” Mitchell Ralston @mrspooky13 (Huntingdon Beach, California)
  • YouTuber Sabrina Rios @abelinasabrina (Los Angeles, California)
  • Nick Trawick, known for his TikTok character “Kleptora,” @nicktrawick13 (Los Angeles, California).

In the supersized season premiere, Anne and Darnell welcome the 12 social media-savvy, but culinary challenged recruits to boot camp.  Before picking teams, Anne and Darnell kick off the competition by having the recruits make their baseline signature dish to show off their skills, or lack thereof, in the kitchen. Then in the main dish challenge, the recruits learn a unique way to cook chicken – under a brick!  After assessing everyone’s skills, teams are chosen and the competition heats up leading into weekly eliminations.

In upcoming episodes, boot camp is transformed into ancient Greece for souvlaki and grilled octopus challenges; culinary, physical and mental skills are put to the test ina Survivor-inspired contest and fan-favorite recruits Marti Cummings and Peachez Iman-Cummings return. In the finale on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, the two most improved recruits put their culinary skills to the test and serve a three-course restaurant quality meal to a panel of food experts.  After a blind taste test, judges Karen Akunowicz, Kalen Allen and Leah Cohen decide who wins $25,000 and bragging rights for their team leader.

Fans can get to know the recruits and get an extended look at Anne and Darnell’s boot camp demos at FoodNetwork.com/WorstCooks. Follow along with the competition on social media and learn the basics of cooking in boot camp using #WorstCooks.

“Worst Cooks in America” is produced by Objective Media Group America, an All3 Media America company.