The first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” appeared on March 8, 2006. This was a reality show, using a competition format to show aspiring young chefs performing various cooking challenges. Their results were then judged by a panel of four renowned food and restaurant industry professionals. During the the season, contestants were animated one by one, until only one is left and gets the merits of “Top Chef.”Bravos Top Chef

The show’s ninth season introduced in November of 2011 a major new “transmedia” twist. A parallel web video series was launched, duly called “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen”, that gave losing contestants a second chance to get back onto the show. Each week’s the eliminated contestant from the TV series could compete against the previous week’s winner of the Web series. The remaining two Last Chance Kitchen contestants went fought to qualify for the on-air Top Chef finale.

The Web series marked the first time that a broadcaster’s digital content affected its on-air show content. This was a brilliant move on the network’s part. Bravo has in fact demonstrated a consistently curious and determined ‘test and learn” approach over the years when it comes to social TV. As the network’s Executive Vice President of Digital Media, Lisa Hsia, said:

“When you’re innovating, there is no template. I would describe social TV as we know it today as still in the caveman era. You have a rock and you’re trying to make it into an arrowhead, or a bowl, or mortar and pestle. I don’t think we’re yet able to say what works or what doesn’t. I think it’s really about understanding what the various components are and how users are responding to them, and then evolving the experience around that.”