Pop Culture

Is the food at ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ free?

Q: Do the restaurant patrons in Hell’s Kitchen show up because they want to be on TV? Are they being charged for their meal, or is it free since it’s 99% sure that they won’t get any food?        —Renee

A: “Hell’s Kitchen,” which had its finale Aug. 1, is one of summer’s surprise reality hits, and everyone wants to know what’s up with the diners in the restaurant. Are they actors? Did they have to pay for their food? Were barf bags provided?

A ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ diner, TVgasm writer B-Side, gave us the story. The diners were, in fact, real people who were recruited to test out the food and service in the “restaurant.” (The building, by the way, is a former TV studio converted into a restaurant and dorm area for the production.)

Diners didn’t have to pay for their meals, however — which makes sense, since a lot of times, they never see the food they ordered. In fact, as compensation for their time, each diner was paid $50. They weren’t paid to act or react in any way, however.

Diners had to sign standard non-disclosure agreements, so we don’t have many details about what went down during the taping.

Our diner did eat, however, and reports that the food was “not very good.” Diners also had their car valeted, so the cutaway shots to the restaurant’s exterior aren’t just for show. As to Gordon Ramsay himself, our diner reports that he wasn’t screaming his head off, so clearly it was a good night.    —A.D.

Q: I really enjoyed "Paradise Hotel," why aren't they doing another one? I was so hooked I'd love to see it return!  —Brandi

A: "Big Brother 6" is currently fulfilling our need for (ridiculous, drunken, stupid, fun) summertime reality TV, but more than a few "Big Brother" watchers are just waiting for the day FOX resurrects its summertime trash-fest.

That would be "Paradise Hotel," and there's some good news for fans: The hotel that was the setting for the show, the Villa Arabesque resort, will soon be occupied by the cast of not one but two international editions of the series. Holland and Belgium are each getting their own "Paradise Hotel," and are filming this summer. They're modifying the series so it costs less to produce, but hopefully is as tawdry as it was its first season.

The good news is that the production company behind the series hopes that the lower-cost format will prompt FOX to pick up a second season, C21Media reported recently. A second season has been rumored in the past, but hopefully this brings it one step closer to reality.

Q: Where is the "Big Brother 6" house? I have been wondering since the beginning of the season.   —Josh

A: It's on the CBS Television studio lot in Hollywood, California. The two-story house was built new for this season on the site of the old "Yes, Dear" studio space.

According to Variety, the house that was used for previous seasons was "demolished to make room for a new office building housing KCBS, KCAL and other [CBS] properties, perhaps including some CBS or Viacom exec offices."    —G.F.C.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor. Andy Dehnart is a writer and teacher who publishes reality blurred, a daily summary of reality TV news.