When Recipe for Disaster premieres on the CW Network next month, it’ll dish up plenty of the sugary and salty ingredients viewers have come to expect from cooking contests on reality TV. The show pairs professional chefs with a friend or family member who is hopeless in the kitchen. The contestants will “compete to make spectacular dishes while battling ridiculous disasters.”
But the show’s producers also mix in the reality TV equivalent of lean proteins and veggies. Recipe for Disaster will feature chefs who cook with sustainable ingredients, compete to win meat and dairy-free cooking challenges, and even tell a joke about climate change being responsible for the sudden tropical rainstorm that soaks them as they try to cook.
Lately, the creators of everything from celebrity gabfests to car racing competitions — the realm of so-called “unscripted TV” — have been finding ways to slip information about human-caused climate change and sustainable living onto our screens.
Data from Statistica shows roughly a third of U.S. adults between 18 and 64 currently watch reality TV. But Recipe for Disaster executive producer Cyle Zezo says even though climate change is very much part of everyone’s everyday reality, reality TV executives themselves have long shied away from the topic.
“A couple of years ago, if you’d brought up talking about climate on screen, people would think it was crazy and they wouldn’t even touch the subject,” Zezo told NPR at the recent Hollywood Climate Summit.