Seven Check, Please finalists auditioned at WTTW studios yesterday afternoon, taping mock episodes and interacting with mock guests on set. The day began with iNG mixologist Emilie Rose Bishop and ended with Art Institute fashion design teacher Tommy Walton, as hopefuls cycled in and out of the green rooms to await their time in front of the camera glare. Beginning each taping with the familiar refrain "Welcome to Check, Please, I'm...," they all refereed similar conversations about Lincoln Park restaurant John's Place as executive producer David Manilow hovered and occasionally gave instruction, and roving cameramen filmed stage and behind the scenes shots for an upcoming TV special.
Manilow was impressed with some and unimpressed with others, saying "Some people really stepped up and some people did not." He said that three or four out of the seven were good.
Which hopefuls impressed him? One was broadcast veteran and Eater contributor Catherine De Orio. During her taping, Manilow remarked that "she pops off the screen,' "she's done the best so far," and called her "nimble." "She has energy," Manilow continued. "When you have the energy the guests feed off it. Without it the whole show falls apart."
Another was Tavern at the Park owner Donny De Castro. During the end of his taping, the teleprompter failed and De Castro winged the ending on memory, impressing Manilow.
The ten remaining auditioners hit the set tomorrow. The decision-making timing has been pushed back, as producers will whittle the group to three or four on May 1, air a TV special on May 17, and announce the new host on May 29.
· All Coverage of Check, Please [~ECHI~]
[Photo: Catherine De Orio and mock guests]