Syfy’s Reality TV Binge: Really, A Cooking Show?

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You’ve gotta give Syfy props: As a network, it’s not the least bit scared of taking risks.

With the likes of Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, it aims to hit more mainstream drama viewers. With Stargate Universe and its ilk – as we’ve said here before, an awesome show – it satisfies the nerd base. And then with reality series like Ghost Hunters, and late-night B-movies like Dinoshark, it tries to offer a couple unexpected surprises too.

But the network made a major announcement late Thursday that suggests the new direction that Syfy is headed: More mainstream reality series. (More at Techland: Graduation gifts for nerds)

Announcing three new additions to the schedule, Syfy has picked up the shows Face Off, which is basically a head-to-head special effects makeup duel, and Paranormal Witness, which is a first-person recollection and reenactment of close encounters with the paranormal.

But it’s the last show of the new trio that has people talking. Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen will basically be a play-by-play behind-the-scenes cooking documentary, about molecular gastronomist Marcel Vigneron – that arrogant punk from Top Chef – coming up with new and crazy scientifically-modified dishes. Yes, there’s a whole lot of science at play, and the show might actually be pretty cool, but surely it has to say something about the state of TV financing, and sci-fi ratings, that Syfy is leaping into the food show market.

Something about a Syfy cooking show just feels wrong. What’s next: A Syfy Real World? A Syfy Biggeset Loser?