Season 11 of ‘Top Chef’ continues on, but the Season 3 finale of the most-watched web series in NBCU’s history concludes tonight. ‘Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen’ will post at 11 PM EST, immediately following tonight’s episode of ‘Top Chef’ (10 PM EST).
The web series follows ousted ‘Top Chef’ competitors, who, through a series of challenges, have the chance to re-enter the main competition. Each week, two or more of the previously eliminated chefs compete against the just-eliminated ‘Top Chef’ contestant. Tom Colicchio judges the web series, and the champion of ‘Last Chance Kitchen’ is able to compete in the ‘Top Chef’ season finale. Tonight, ‘Top Chef’ fans will find out which contestant will get to return.
Last season, ‘Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen’ received more than 9.5 million views, and redefined the relationship between linear programming and a companion web series. Enabling eliminated contestants (sometimes fan favorites) from a reality series to compete in a different medium and then re-enter the competition is a strategy sure to be employed by networks moving forward as they look for more ways to engage fans across platforms.
As demonstrated by Season 1 of ‘Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen’ – tied to Season 9 of ‘Top Chef’ – a companion web series can also deliver added value to advertisers. According to Nielsen, Toyota reached 22 million viewers that season. Digital extensions added an incremental four million viewers for Toyota, a 24% lift.