The amateurs are coming.
I really hope they're actually amateurs.
The question here is 'How do we keep Second Season Syndrome from setting in?' For a large number of series, the original airing is when you have the best chance to get real people (for a television value of 'real') who are just excited by the show's prospect, want the title as much (or more!) than the exposure, and are truly in this thing because they truly believe they could be America's first Masterchef. And in the original airing? That's what we got. The arguable-most-diverse cast in genre history, a conjunction of backgrounds and cooking styles which normally require six square blocks of Manhattan to encompass, some decent team challenges, some elimination ones that needed polish, three judges who actually worked for the show -- and in the end, a winner most of us could stand. Kudos.
But now we're on Season #2.
This is where the professional chefs might turn up wearing a Kiss The Cook apron and lying about just tossing a few burgers for the guys back at the firehouse. This is when someone could throw a fit just for the sake of grabbing the three minutes of camera time it'll occupy. This is how someone might start a show-jumping career: start here, stick with Gordon for the fall, then head over to Bravo, and then they're The Next Food Network Star!
How, as a casting director, do you avoid that? And if you're a casting director, do you want to? Are you counting on getting that same wild diversity again -- or are you going to force formula down our collective throat and call it a specialty cocktail?
I wish I knew what was coming. All I've got is this: when I saw the first preview commercial hit, I was glad. For a few seconds, it almost approached excitement. Happy for the renewal, sure -- but also truly looking forward to the thing, more than I've looked forward to Survivor or Big Brother for several seasons now, by several orders of magnitude. I don't always want to watch a train wreck. I want to be enchanted every now and again, to stare at a creation like Mike's Ssam Duck and wish I could taste the screen.
But it's the second season...
Worst-case scenario: Lacey, Russell, Sabrina. In wigs.