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Many 'Chefs’ Cooking for Bravo

Bravo is wielding a Ginzu knife of a promotion — one aimed at slicing through the clutter and raising awareness of its new reality contest series, Top Chef.

The package includes an interactive application that will be available only to Time Warner Cable homes, according to Jason Klarman, senior vice president, marketing and brand strategies at Bravo.

The series, which debuts March 8, subjects 12 aspiring chefs to culinary challenges, with the winner receiving a $100,000 cash prize.

In Time Warner Cable markets, viewers will be able to use their remote controls to participate in in-show polling. Questions will appear in pop-up screens generated by viewers’ set-top boxes, using technology from Navic Networks to synch the questions up to precise moments in the show. The technology will record viewer input and display results in real time in each market.

TIME WARNER CABLE EXCLUSIVE

Bravo parent NBC Universal Cable is providing Time Warner Cable Media Sales with an exclusive local ad-sales promotion, the “Top Chef Wine & Dine” sweepstakes in 28 markets. Running through March 21, one winner per market will receive a trip for two to San Francisco and the nearby Napa Valley.

Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. will also get specialty content: Exclusive, behind-the-scenes streaming video to be posted to their Web sites.

Bravo is also mimicking its effective magazine partnership with Elle. On the fashion program, contestants are featured in Elle editorial content and the magazine’s fashion director, Nina Garcia, serves as a judge.

For Top Chef, the magazine partner is Food & Wine, and its food expert, Gail Simmons, will be a regular judge on the series, hosted by “gourmet foodie” Katie Lee Joel and Tom Colicchio, co-owner of New York’s Gramercy Tavern and Craft restaurants.

Top Chef is the subject of a two-page feature in the current issue, and will be featured in upcoming editorial and advertorial sections, Klarman said. The winning chef will participate in Food & Wine events in Aspen and New York later this year.

There will be cross-promotion between the Web sites for both Food & Wine (www.foodandwine.com) and Bravo (www.bravotv.com) — which is offering behind-the-scenes footage, cooking demonstrations and a “rate the plate” feature.

Local partnerships and contests are also part of the mix. In the New York area, the grocery-delivery service Fresh Direct will include tune-in cards with 25,000 of its deliveries, and send information on the show to its database of 150,000 customers.