‘Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours’ Cannot Fail

How can you possibly make a Gordon Ramsay restaurant repair show more exciting? Do it all in a single day.

Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell and Back premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. He now dominates the network’s Wednesday night programming, also hosting Master Chef at 8. But to get the most out of the celebrity chef, Fox went back to the basics, mimicking one of Ramsay’s greatest masterpieces.

Kitchen Nightmares was a show built on schadenfreude, or pleasure derived from someone’s misfortune. Ramsay would triumphantly enter a failing restaurant, criticize the food, rip apart the owner or chef (or both) and fix everything from the ground up. It started on BBC, but Fox picked it up in 2007 and jacked up the drama. In the newer version Ramsay was yelling more, arguing with incompetent cooks and emphatically clearing out disgusting kitchens. Jump down a Kitchen Nightmares YouTube hole and you might end up stuck there for days listening to Ramsay’s scathing reviews and terrible one-liners.

Gordon Ramsay is the ideal reality TV anti-hero. He’s perfectly arrogant, completely secure about his own ability and genius. He’s never wrong when he calls out a chef for improperly storing food or sending out a raw hamburger. He’s found a way to intersect hilariously insulting food criticism with the appearance that he genuinely cares about the people he’s helping. Even when he’s clearly milking it for the camera, Ramsay’s meltdowns come across as passionate, not hateful.

24 Hours is simply Kitchen Nightmares on speed. Reducing restaurant repair to a single day will ratchet up emotions. Ramsay will go off, bumbling chefs will be exposed, things will go wrong, people will get angry and we’ll get to watch it all.

It sounds like another Gordon Ramsay classic.