Wondering why the upcoming season of Bravo’s Top Chef: Texas won’t feature scenes of Houston in any of its 14 episodes — even though state officials gave the production company $400,000 to film the season in Texas? Well, here’s a possible answer: Houston officials refused to fork over an additional $120,000 to the production company, Magical Elves, in return for a single episode to be filmed in Houston. “They were not going to give us any editorial influence for what was shot,” Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing director Lindsey Brown tells the San Antonio Express News. “We just felt it wasn’t worth what they were asking. They could go out to Beaumont and film oil [derricks] for all we know.”
Instead of Houston restaurants and grub, the series will feature 8 full episodes shot in San Antonio, including a faked farmers market at the La Villita village downtown and the highly anticipated return of Pee-Wee Herman to the Alamo basement. Why the San Antonio focus?
That city’s convention bureau forked over $200,000 in hotel tax funds to Magical Elves. Austin and Dallas will be featured in the series too, but officials from both of those cities have denied paying for the privilege. Meanwhile, Magical Elves is suing the Texas attorney general’s office to prevent the release of any more information about state funding it asked for or received.
- $200,000 helped get ‘Top Chef’ for S.A. [San Antonio Express-News]
- ‘Top Chef’ producers fight release of documents that led to $400,000 in Texas tourism dollars [Austin American-Statesman]
- Top Chef Texas to Bring Pee-Wee Herman Back to the Alamo [Eater Austin]
- Top Chef Season 9 [BravoTV]
- Top Chef Texas coverage [Eater National]
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures