Netflix Launches Cooking Format ‘The Final Table’ & ‘Death By Magic’

Netflix Launches Cooking Format ‘The Final Table’ & ‘Death By Magic’

Netflix is doubling down on unscripted series with a raft of new titles including a new cooking from the producers of MasterChef and a pair of magic projects.

The SVOD service has ordered The Final Table, Death by Magicand Derren Brown: Sacrifice alongside confirmation of projects including football doc Sunderland Till I Die and Jackass-meets-Wipeout-style gameshow Flinch.

The new shows were unveiled by Brandon Riegg, VP of Unscripted Originals and Acquisitions for Netflix, at the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

The Final Table is a global culinary competition series that features the world’s most renowned chefs fighting for a spot at the top table. The series features 12 teams of two chefs from around the world cooking the national dishes of Mexico, Spain, England, Brazil, France, Japan, the U.S., India and Italy. Each episode focuses on a different country and its cuisine. Celebrity chefs that will appear in the show include Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Andoni Aduriz (Spain), Clare Smyth (UK), Helena Rizzo (Brazil), Vineet Bhatia (India), Grant Achatz (US), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Anne-Sophie Pic (France). The series will be presented by Bon Appétit Editor at Large Andrew Knowlton.

The show was created and exec produced by MasterChef producers Robin Ashbrook and Yasmin Shackleton and is produced by theoldschool and is set to launch later this year.

Death By Magic is fronted by British magician Drummond Money-Coutts (DMC). The magician is on a mission to uncover the stories of magicians who died performing the most dangerous stunts ever attempted. He travels the world to track down where the fatal performances took place and to work out exactly what went wrong. The show is produced by Hell’s Kitchen and American Ninja Warrior producer A. Smith & Co and is exec produced by Arthur Smith, Toby Gorman, Martin Turner, Simon Dinsell and Money-Coutts. It launches later this year.

Also in magic, Derren Brown returns with a new special that uses covert psychological techniques to create a scenario in which his subject has to decide whether or not to make the ultimate sacrifice: laying down his life for a complete stranger he wouldn’t normally identify with. Derren Brown: Sacrifice, which launches later this year, is produced by Vaudeville Productions, showrunner is Ben Jessop and exec produced by Andrew O’Connor.

The SVOD service also confirmed Sunderland Till I Die, a documentary series about the British football club produced by James Corden’s Fulwell 73. The series, which is exec produced by Leo Pearlman and Ben Turner, is released on December 14.

Finally, Netflix has also confirmed Flinch, the action gameshow produced by Northern Irish indie Stellify Media, as first revealed by Deadline last November. The show is set on a remote farm in Ireland where brave and foolish contestants gather to test their nerve against three fiendish games. If they flinch, there are painful consequences both for them, and for our hosts, who have each chosen a player to represent them in the games. The series is hosted by comedians Desiree Burch, Lloyd Griffith and Seann Walsh. It launches later this year.

Riegg said, “We are looking for stories that resonate globally. We want to push the envelope and try new things. A lot of stuff we’re doing lately falls into the positive angle. We love shows that put a smile on your face.”

Two Contra Costa County birds test positive for West Nile virus

Two Contra Costa County birds test positive for West Nile virus

DISCOVERY BAY (BCN) Two dead birds found in Discovery Bay have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District. In addition, mosquitoes found in Oakley and Discovery Bay also tested positive, the district said Friday in a news release. There have been a total three dead birds and five groups of mosquitoes so far this year to test positive for the virus in Contra Costa County, according to the district. “West Nile virus activity typically peaks in August and September, when baby birds have left their nests and mosquitoes begin to feed on humans more often,” Steve Schutz, the district’s scientific programs manager, said in a statement.

Vacation Rentals: Are Agents Leaving Money on the Table?

Vacation Rentals: Are Agents Leaving Money on the Table?

Just a few miles down US-98 from the neon-drenched tourist haven of Panama City Beach, but worlds away as far as volume and tempo, lies Port St. Joe.

A sleepy little beach town of scrub palmettos and dune grass, Port St. Joe represents a rarity in Florida: a beachfront town that doesn’t want to sell you T-Shirts and knick-knacks at every corner. It simply wants to give you the chance to breathe salt air, get sand between your toes and relax.

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It’s a beauty that whispers, rather than shouts.

Country music stars Brothers Osborne recorded their new album here, far away from the hectic music scene of Nashville among the winding dunes and gently waving seas. They named the album Port St. Joe in its honor.

It was only fitting, then, that they host their album release party at WindMark Beach, a waterfront resort community right along the dazzling turquoise waters of Saint Joseph Bay. WindMark Beach resort echoes everything that makes the town of Port St. Joe so unique. A laid-back pace, an unapologetic love of nature’s quiet charms and a spectacular view of the Florida panhandle’s gulf waters.

As a community, WindMark Beach represents an interesting opportunity for travelers. Built around the rolling greens of its Town Center (and we mean that literally—a unique, rolling landscape echoes the look of ocean waves among the grassy hills), its roads stretch away among the maritime forests to unique “boardwalks” that front many of the houses.

Evoking the rustic beachfront charms of New York’s Fire Island, these walkways connect many of the stunning homes built by D.R. Horton in a variety of styles that allow for ample creativity while adhering to a distinctly modern beach vibe.

WindMark Beach represents an interesting opportunity for travel agents. Throughout the community are condos and homes that were sold to buyers from as far away as Texas, primarily to serve as vacation rentals. In short, when the owner is not there, the home is available to rent for a few days or weeks at a time.

Zach Ferrell was running a boutique vacation rental company nearby when he was brought on by the developer to handle real estate sales. When WindMark Beach made the decision to engage a new vacation rental company, they invited Ferrell to look at their numbers.

“I had no idea they were getting that kind of volume,” he said. “We took it over and have been growing it ever since.”

His company, No Worries Vacation Rentals, now handles WindMark Beach’s rentals. From charming beachfront homes and cottages with names like “Pure Sol,” “Summer Dream” and “Once Upon a Tide” there are also condos sitting atop retail and restaurant space in the architecturally intriguing buildings in the Town Center. Along with securing a rental, No Worries handles every aspect of the experience from providing kayaks, bikes and chairs to golf carts and baby cribs.

“If you name it, we’ll probably rent it,” he said.

WindMark Beach is unique among vacation rental communities, but it also faces the same issue many rental communities face: exposure. Several years ago, the big vacation rental sites under VRBO’s banner began imposing a traveler fee, and Ferrell said he saw bookings from those sites drop from 45 percent into the 16-18 percent range. Now, nearly all of their bookings come from his company website. “We’re constantly reaching out, trying to find new ways and new means to find these travelers.”

Could that new way include travel agents? The answer gets a little murky. A search of Travel Leaders’ website, by way of anecdotal evidence, yields 297 agents who list “vacation rentals” as one of their specialties. Calls to several of the top-listed agents among them yielded the same answer across the board: they used to do more, but they’re not anymore.

Jim Buckley is the owner of Island Travel based on Hilton Head Island. A town similarly rich in vacation rental properties, Buckley said he doesn’t do much with vacation rental firms. “We get calls from people outside the area looking for vacation rental companies and we refer them to the chamber of commerce, which is our DMC.”

At issue, Buckley said, is the fact that agents tend to be wary of any destination they haven’t seen with their own eyes. “An agent’s reputation is based on being able to send people on a cruise or a tour that we know, based on our experience or their reputation. When it comes to rental properties, we have no way to validate the destination,” he said. “There may be avenues, I’m just not aware of them.”

Sites such as Redawning and Travel Rental Network do skew toward B2B vacation rentals for agents, offering up 10 percent commissions, but it appears to be a long road ahead for the two industries to connect.

Until then, you have the vacation rental industry looking for new ways to get people into their properties and the travel industry always looking for more opportunities for their clients and more ways to open revenue streams. For the savvy agent, it could be worth looking into.