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Food Network program and "AGT" finale have contestants with WNY ties

This is what I’m thinking:

Cooking or magic?

That is the choice Tuesday night for reality show fans who are more likely to watch because contestants have Western New York ties.

At 8 tonight,  an eighth-grader at St. Mark’s Elementary School in Buffalo, is a contestant on the Food Network’s “Chopped Junior.”

Nate Siwiec, 13, filmed the episode, titled “Curry Hurry,” in May in New York York City.

Naturally, he isn’t allowed to dish out whether the judges ate up his performance.

Here’s how the Food Network describes the program: A new group of ambitious junior chefs must win over a special panel of judges: chef Tiffany Derry, actress Busy Philipps and chef Aaron Sanchez. First up, an odd egg and a unique version of chicken and waffles are found in the basket. Orange noodles and a red paste are among the colorful ingredients that the young chefs must promptly address in the entree round, and the two finalists must find creative ways to turn Italian pudding and sweet sushi-shaped sandwiches into original desserts.

Nate will be competing for viewers with former Buffalo Bills snapper Jon Dorenbos, who is one of 10 finalists in the two-hour live finale of the 11th season of “America’s Got Talent” that starts at 8 p.m. Dorenbos has impressed the judges this season with his magic tricks. "AGT" gets magical ratings weekly, so it might be hard for "Chopped Junior" to get many leftovers.

It is the second straight year that “AGT” has had a finalist with WNY ties. University at Buffalo graduate Gary Vider, a standup comedian, made the finals last year.

While we are on the subject of reality shows, you have to love social media. I missed the live moment during Monday's season opener of “Dancing with the Stars” Monday that two protestors went on stage after Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte performed with Cheryl Burke. But within minutes, there was a clip on Twitter that showed judge Carrie Ann Inaba addressing the culprits. On Tuesday morning, footage of the security guards dealing with the intruders was played on NBC’s “Today.” I suspect the disturbance will help Lochte become more of a sympathetic character. And it also will probably help the ratings of “DWTS.”  The two-hour season premiere Monday had an 8.0 rating on Channel 7, which is pretty strong for a network program these days. Just not as strong as the weekly ratings for "AGT."

I half expected the local ABC affiliate to lead with the disturbance rather than more important news. Thankfully, it didn’t. It was more surprising that it wasn’t shown at all.

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