Kevin Hart

TOO HOT TO HANDLE:

Kevin Hart can’t stand the heat.

Burning questions over hot wings.

That’s the viral hit concept Tempo Networks founder Frederick Morton is bringing to T&T with the launch of the official Caribbean franchise of Complex Network’s hit show Hot Ones.

For 11 seasons, fans the world over have gawked at host Sean Evans asking A-List international celebrities controversial questions while they eat chicken wings, or cauliflower for the vegetarians, of increasing heat. American comedian Kevin Hart, British actor Idris Elba and US-born pop star Billie Eilish (Billie O’Connell) are among the stars to be featured on the show.

Morton says Caribbean Hot Ones would put local and regional A-listers, as well as international stars with Caribbean heritage, in the hot seat. The production, a partnership with FilmTT, should make for intriguing viewing.

“We’re following their format, so it’s going to be all A-list celebrities. It doesn’t have to just be artistes. It’s really about celebrities and people that would appeal to the audience and have something to say that’s interesting.

“It could be somebody that is trending at the moment that isn’t a full celeb, but on their way to becoming a celebrity. It could be someone form soca, dancehall and or the Trinibad artistes which is a whole movement in itself,” Morton told the Express during a phone interview yesterday.

Morton said he has always been impressed with the “cutting edge” approach of Complex Network and reached out to the US-based network about a possible collaboration during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

“I got locked in March last year when the boarders closed. While I was here I was thinking about developing and producing content during the pandemic. A lot of things started to come into my mind.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the way they (Complex) approach popular culture. The unique way. The Hot Ones was a show I enjoyed personally. I said okay, it’s pandemic, I love this show, and it started to come into my mind that maybe I should think about doing something with this show,” he said.

Morton said a three-year, six-­season deal between Complex and ­Tempo was only finalised in January after ­several months of negotiations. He said pre-production has already begun on the project, which is set to be shot in April and launched along with the new Tempo app. He, however, remained tight-lipped about the identity of the host.

“It took months to do the deal, six to seven months of conversations back and forth. A month ago, we were able to come to terms. It’s a deal over three years.

Six seasons—13 episodes per season. “We have already started preproduction work which will go into March.

The team is in place in every department.

The set is already being designed to look exactly like the Hot Ones set. The host, he, I’ve already said too much,” Morton said with a chuckle.

Pepper could turn up tourism heat

The Hot Ones franchise will also offer a unique tourism prospect for T&T as a pepper destination, Morton said. The Tempo CEO said he plans to work with local pepper sauce producers to not only feature their products, but also create an exclusive Tempo Hot Ones line of pepper sauces.

“I only just realised the hottest pepper in the world was the Trinidad Scorpion pepper. Although it’s not the hottest in the world anymore, the hottest is a mutation of that same Moruga pepper.

We gonna partner with a pepper manu­facturer and create our special pepper sauce lime,” he explained.

Apart from peppers Caribbean Hot Ones will also feature other elements of local cuisine like doubles and pholourie, he said.

“We are going to incorporate our cultural elements into the show. You will see some doubles, pholourie and jerk. While the main thing in the chicken wings our cultural foods will be worked in, as well as local vegetables for non-meat eaters,” he explained.

Once international boarders reopen, Morton said regional and international celebrities with Caribbean roots will be flown to Trinidad to be featured on the show.

The pandemic is and has been so unpredictable.

My initial thought was to do what we normally do and take the production team to the celebrities. But maybe it’s a better thing to bring the celebrities here. That’s also to the benefit of the country because when the folks come in, we will work with tourism and other stakeholders to ensure they have a great time while here, and we will include that into the production,” he concluded.

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