On Sunday, a looser and, frankly, rounder Emeril Lagasse will debut the Emeril Lagasse Show (8 p.m./7 central), a variety show for ION (formerly PAX) that looks suspiciously very much like his old Food Network gig, Emeril Live. The new show has guest stars like Martha Stewart, whom Emeril quizzes about Renaissance paintings, and Sherri Shepherd, an old friend, who helps Emeril apply edible spa treatments to volunteers from the audience. Sammy Hagar will stop by later in the season to drink tequila and judge a tortilla-tossing contest. There’s also something called a BAM box that provides prizes for things like being the first audience member to figure out how to strip an ear of corn. But the show might need its host to kick it up a notch.
How did you end up working with ION?
They loved the idea of sort of "not an Emeril Live format," but that’s what a lot of viewers and a lot of fans loved. And the live Emeril had a ten-year run, which was fabulous. I think I shot 1,500 shows of that show.
What happened with you and the Food Network?
Production from where we started to where we ended got very expensive. They had certainly enough shows in the can to do what they needed to do, and they sort of stopped production. Certainly in television, nothing lasts forever.
What did you discover in your time off?
I really enjoy doing television.
That’s what you discovered?
It kind of puts a smile on your face knowing that you’ve touched a lot of people and maybe made them a better cook. I think I’ve made people better cooks along the way.
You’ve seen this?
Absolutely. I think that as opposed to ten years ago, people are just in a whole different food perspective. I think it’s kind of neat to think that maybe I had just a little to do with that.
A variety show didn’t work too well for Jay Leno. Are you taking any lessons from that?
No, I’m just kind of in my own little world.
Any new catchphrases on the new show?
No, just kind of what I’ve been doing.
So, saying "BAM!" a lot?
I don’t constantly do that just to do that.
You ought to come up with a fun new phrase.
Give it to me; I’ll give you credit for it.