Mar 222006
Authors: Pamela Sitt The Seattle Times

Sean “P. Diddy” Combs is cooking up _ sorry _ a new reality show for NBC that pairs celebrities with superstar chefs in a “Dancing with the Stars”-style competition. Working title: “Cook or Die.”

OK, I made up that last part. But true, “Celebrity Cooking Showdown” is set for an April 17 debut (8 p.m., NBC), when NBC will proceed to force-feed viewers by airing the five-part series on consecutive nights for a week. Hey, it worked for “Deal or No Deal.” And that is a show about opening suitcases.

Chefs Wolfgang Puck, Cat Cora and Govind Armstrong have already signed on; competing celebrities are expected to be announced this week. I’m sure Nick Lachey’s agent is all over this. His pilot on The WB fell through, and now he’s even less famous than his ex-wife and his little brother. Honestly, how much can one man take?

“We’ve been desperate to do cooking in prime time,” co-producer Ben Silverman told Daily Variety. “And who’s more prime time than Diddy?”

While you puzzle over that statement, I’ll get started on “The Bachelor” _ hey, there’s an idea for Nick Lachey. ABC, can you hear me? So Sarah and Travis are dunzo, but the show’s determined producers are already on the hunt for the next bachelor, even though the show technically hasn’t been renewed. Casting directors are reportedly targeting architects for the ninth edition of the franchise, prompting ridicule on architect message boards (who knew?): “I can’t wait for the episode where his date spends the whole night in his studio, while he finishes hot-gluing a chip-board model.” Sexy.

Finally, CBS has announced the band-seeking-a-lead-singer for this summer’s “Rock Star 2.” Drummer Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, guitarist Jason Newsted of Metallica and guitarist Gilby Clarke of Guns N’ Roses will form a supergroup called Supernova and plan to tour after choosing a lead singer on the show. Expect a few other familiar faces to turn up as well _ some of Rock Star’s first-season finalists will reportedly return for a second chance. I say they just give it to “American Idol’s” Chris Daughtry and be done with it.

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