The state forked over $600,000 to lure Bravo’s “Top Chef” film crews to Texas, but placed some restrictions on the show if they accepted the cash, the Austin-American Statesman reported Wednesday.
Most of the imposed restrictions—such as making “good faith efforts” that the show’s hosts and contestants will not engage in underage drinking, illegal drug use, and gambling—are understandable. But others reek of censorship, particularly the one that stipulates that Bravo must limit the broadcast of “explicit negative statements specifically about the state.”
Governor Rick Perry’s Economic Development and Tourism division shelled out $400,000 to Bravo producers and the city of San Antonio coughed up another $200,000.
Bravo and the production company Magical Elves initially sought to prevent release of the Brand Integration Agreement. When taken out of context, the following sentence is a contender for the most hilarious one the Statesman has ever run: “Magical Elves filed suit against the Texas attorney general’s office in early October after it ordered that several documents, including the brand integration agreement, be provided to news reporters who had requested copies.”
That lawsuit has now been dropped. Bravo’s representative told the San Antonio Express-News they initially didn’t want the agreement released because they feared it might contain spoilers about the show.
Reality Blurred also picked apart the agreement for colorful nuggets. “Most interesting to me was the fact that the agreement explicitly required Bravo to name the season Top Chef Texas: ‘The word ‘Texas’ will be added by the Network to the Series title in promotional materials,’” Andy Dehnart blogged.
The governor’s office is “pleased” with the outcome of the agreement and estimates it will receive “$15 million in exposure” thanks to the show. “The episodes have done a good job of highlighting to a broad audience what makes the Lone Star State unique: Texas sites, culture, food, activities, symbols and products,” Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, told the Statesman.