'THE RESTAURANT' IS BACK ON THE MENU AT NBC AS PRODUCTION BEGINS TODAY ON A SECOND SEASON STARRING ROCCO DISPIRITO AND HIS MANHATTAN HOT-SPOT, 'ROCCO’S 22 STREET'

NEW YORK -- November 17, 2003 - After much speculation since its successful run this past summer on NBC, “The Restaurant” will return for a second season starring chef Rocco DiSpirito. Production begins today on 6 one-hour episodes to premiere in 2004 on NBC.

“This show and its star Rocco were clearly one of NBC’s break-out hits this year,” said Jeff Gaspin, Executive Vice President, Alternative Series, Specials, Longform and Program Strategy, NBC Entertainment. “We feel our viewers are hungry to find out what has happened to Rocco, his beloved Mama and their colorful staff.”

The second season of “The Restaurant” will pick up directly from the first season finale as viewers will discover what happened to Rocco and his restaurant after the frenetic and emotional 6-week opening. What are some of the problems that come up within the first year of running a restaurant? How is the food? Is the restaurant profitable? Has Rocco’s dream been fulfilled? Meet the new staff members as they work alongside returning staff including everyone’s favorite, Mama DiSpirito, General Manager Laurent, Captain’s Uzay and Emily, Waiter’s Carrie and Lon and Chef Tony.

“The Restaurant” continues to be the only unscripted drama that literally caters to the viewing public. Anyone at any time can call for a reservation during filming or just show up during dinner hours and try to get a walk-in table. The reservation hotline is 212-353-0500.

“I always considered season one of ‘The Restaurant’ a six episode pilot. So many great dramas come back season after season and there is no reason why unscripted dramas cannot continue this trend,” said Mark Burnett, Executive Producer. “It is simply great drama incorporating captivating characters with Rocco, our leading man, front and center.”

"Rocco is an amazing chef and unique television personality. We are thrilled to watch him continue his journey of trying to please the most discerning diners in the world," added Ben Silverman, Executive Producer

“We believe that ‘The Restaurant’ marked a new trend in primetime television. This new tv paradigm has paid off with the renewal of the series. We always believed that our amazing team---Mark Burnett, Ben Silverman and NBC---coupled with Rocco’s charisma had the makings of a winning combination,” said Robert Riesenberg, Executive Producer and EVP, Magna Global Entertainment

“The Restaurant” is executive produced by Mark Burnett of Mark Burnett Productions, Reveille’s Ben Silverman and Magna Global Entertainment’s Robert Riesenberg.