A&E in kitchen with ‘Rocco’

DiSpirito whips up new reality series

After two seasons manning “The Restaurant” for NBC, Rocco DiSpirito is taking his reality TV act to the streets.

The celebrity chef has teamed with A&E for “Rocco,” a project that will follow DiSpirito helping his fellow New Yorkers “grab the good life.”

Having gone head-to-head with employees and partners in “The Restaurant,” DiSpirito will reveal a softer side in “Rocco,” solving problems for everyday folk via food, whether the person’s trying to win back an ex-girlfriend with a romantic meal or impress the future mother-in-law with a fancy engagement dinner.

A&E has ordered a pilot from 44 Blue Prods., the reality shingle behind cabler’s upcoming 13-episode series “Designing Blind,” centered on Los Angeles-based blind interior designer Eric Brun-Sanglard, and previous docudrama “Caesar’s.”

Reality banner also is close to sealing a deal for a starring vehicle for self-help guru Linda Papadopolous. Brit psychologist Papadopolous is a regular on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club” and the U.K. edition of “Big Brother.”

Project will be based on Papadopolous’ book “Mirror Mirror: Dr. Linda’s Body Revolution,” which examines self-esteem and body image. U.K.-based 21 Days Prods. will produce alongside 44 Blue.

Elsewhere in the 44 Blue pipeline, production is under way on “Designing Blind,” set for an Aug. 6 premiere, and Style Network’s “Split Ends,” a sort of “Wife Swap” for hairstylists. First of eight episodes bows in October.

Wide-ranging slate reflects the company’s ability to service a number of outlets with needs for alternative content, said 44 Blue president/co-owner Rasha Drachkovitch.

“With the ever-increasing number of channels and proliferation of online programming, the appetite for unique reality series is fierce,” Drachkovitch said.

Recent credits for 44 Blue include Lifetime’s “What Should You Do?,” Court TV’s “Inside” and A&E’s “Find and Design” and “Investigative Reports.”

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