The Food Network has halted plans to relaunch Molto Mario following sexual-harassment allegations against Mario Batali, a spokesperson confirms to Grub. Production on the show had wrapped, and it was set to premiere in early 2018. But in a report published by Eater New York earlier today, four women accused the celebrity chef of groping, lewd language, and other misconduct. Batali announced that he’s stepping away from B&B Restaurant Group, and ABC has asked him to do the same with The Chew while it reviews the allegations.
Run from 1996 to 2006, Molto Mario helped define Food Network’s tone before it shifted toward competition shows like Chopped and non-chef stars like Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray. Molto Mario also helped transform Batali from a downtown New York chef into a national ambassador for Italian food. The chef and restaurateur hadn’t appeared on the network since 2010. The spokesperson shared a brief statement saying, “Food Network takes matters like this very seriously and we are putting relaunch plans for Molto Mario on hold.”