- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Gnaw on this: Can some of food and style TV’s biggest stars, Mario Batali and Clinton Kelly among them, help ABC soap fans get over cancellation of their favorite stories? The network’s counting on it for “The Chew.”

Iron Chef or Martha Stewart this isn’t. Nor will the five co-hosts take on top news of the day like their cousins over at “The View” once the show premieres live on Sept. 26 in place of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”

What you’ll see is simple, fun tips for cheap and easy living. During a recent practice run, the ever-adorable Iron Chef Michael Symon salted skirt steak as he shared about his Greek-Sicilian mother and made it clear: Vinaigrette is two parts fat to one part acid.

Kelly, co-host of TLC’s “What Not to Wear,” urged parents to bring their kids back to the dinner table by letting them draw on butcher block paper for placemats. Got some shriveled citrus? Don’t let it go to waste. Slice it up and float it in a vase topped by a cheery hydrangea blossom.

If it sounds like stuff the more sophisticated Stewart might have thought up in kindergarten, you’re right, but that’s OK with Chew’s executive producer, Gordon Elliott. He’s going for “easily digestible, pardon the pun.” Besides, the food porn’s good with lots of delectable close-ups.

Elliott explains: “People don’t have time to sit for an hour and watch a story. ABC came to me and said we’ve had great success with `The View’ but we’d like to get into food. I thought `The View,’ food, `The Chew.’ We do more than just chop and chat. Our co-hosts are relatable.”

True, they are. It’s also true that people may not sit in the middle of the day. But that’s why DVRs were invented, so folk like the soap faithful can relax after dinner with their decades-old shows.

Will they be firing them up for “The Chew,” or tuning out altogether to chase down their soaps online?

“I really don’t believe that disgruntled refugees from `All My Children’ and `One Life to Live’ will swallow `The Chew,’” said TV analyst Shari Anne Brill. “This is about how it’s become more expensive to produce scripted content. The audience has shifted.”

So, this shifting audience. Is it the same audience already wondering just who the heck Chew co-cost Daphne Oz and design expert Evette Rios even are?

Oz wrote the best-selling “The Dorm Room Diet” and is the daughter of TV doc Mehmet Oz, for the record. She opened up during the Chew run-through _ in front of a live audience _ about her upbringing as a vegetarian.

Rios was featured speeding through Oz’s tiny New York City kitchen on a taped makeover that included, yes, a pegboard for extra hanging storage. Did you know there’s something called stainless steel paint? In case you can’t afford appliances in the real thing.

Rounding out the Chew crew is the extremely animated Carla Hall, a “Top Chef” finalist and perky fan favorite who brings on a never-say-die approach to catastrophe in the kitchen. If the top cracks on your cheesecake, for instance, don’t get mad, discouraged, depressed. Cover it up with a world of whip cream and berries.

Promos for “The Chew” have begun airing, already annoying the soap faithful, some of whom took to the sidewalk at ABC Studios in April to protest when the network canceled their shows. They handed out leaflets that declared “The Chew” and other replacements “glorified infomercials appropriate for late-night basic cable channels, not for a major broadcast network.”

Robin Blum, 61, has been watching “All My Children” since it went on the air 41 years ago. She has a small business making greeting cards that double as bookmarks. Hence, she’s home.

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