Comic actor-writer to debunk wine myths on spesh

NEW YORK — The Food Network has commissioned 60-minute primetime special “John Cleese on Wine for the Confused” for fall 2004 and renewed seven of the network’s series.

Hosted by the comic actor-writer, “Cleese on Wine” will attempt to “debunk the myths and fussiness that make wine intimidating to the average person,” said Brooke Johnson, general manager of Food Network. Cleese is a connoisseur, and he’ll host the special from his Santa Barbara ranch.

Two of the seven renewed series are the brainchild of chef Bobby Flay. The first, “Boy Meets Grill,” drew a 26-episode renewal, and the second, “FoodNation,” picks up 13 more half-hours.

The remaining renewals are “Top 5,” a pop-culture countdown hosted by Bobby Rivers, for another 26 half-hours; “Iron Chef,” the one-hour Japanese-format gameshow, which also pockets 26 more; seven more episodes of “Into the Fire,” a profile of top restaurants around the country; 90 more of “Sara’s Secrets,” a cooking show hosted by Sara Moulton, executive chef for Gourmet magazine; and “Barefoot Contessa,” a cooking show with Ina Garten, a cookbook author and home-entertaining expert, who’ll host 20 more episodes.

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