“Bar Rescue” to Debut on Spike TV, Starring NCB’s Jon Taffer
Nightclub & Bar Media Group President Jon Taffer will begin filming 10 episodes of an unscripted series entitled “Bar Rescue” in April. The series, which will air later this year on Spike TV, features Taffer guiding 10 different bar and club operators through their chance to turn their operations around using his unique “in your face” style and management practices honed during his years as a hospitality consultant.
“He’s so direct – and our viewer responds well to that – but he doesn’t scream just to scream. He gives solutions and helps these people help themselves,” says Sharon Levy, executive vice president, original series and animation at Spike TV. “Jon takes a scientific approach to fixing the establishment, talking about lighting, music, sexual chemistry on the dance floor, the economics of the neighborhood and more. All that resonates with our viewers.”
In each episode, Taffer will lead an “undercover” assessment of an establishment, done by himself, his wife, Nicole and an occasional guest “expert.” After he’s identified the issues and also the opportunities, he brings the management and staff through an intense turnaround initiative, using the bar management methods developed by his Taffer Dynamics firm. “We’ll also bring in experts as needed – if there are issues with bar food, we’ll bring in a chef; if the issue is with violence among patrons, we’ll tap a security expert. And if it’s problems with bar ops, we’ll showcase a speed bartending or mixology specialist,” says Taffer. “Whatever’s needed to fix this bar, we’ll do!”
The show’s origins lie in the Nightclub & Bar Show, according to Taffer. “Two years ago, I was approached after one of my speeches at the NCB Show by Darrin Reed, a producer, who also happened to tend bar. He said, ‘We’ve got to do a show with you!’ A few weeks later we shot a concept video for the show,” he recalls. 3 Ball Productions picked it up and shot the pilot, and Spike TV then ordered 10 episodes.
With all the recent media buzz around chefs and then mixologists, now is the perfect time for pulling back the curtain on the bar industry itself, says Taffer. “Americans love bars, but they don’t understand that it’s not an easy business and in many cases they don’t respect this industry,” he explains. “We’re going to demonstrate that this is a complicated, difficult business run by outstanding professionals. This will educate consumers and give them comfort that their hosts are professionals; it will increase their respect for our industry and also generate excitement about it. What’s more, it will show regulators and legislators that we’re an industry of professionals operating responsibly.”
The show’s pilot tested extremely well with male viewers age 23-49, but the concept also appeals to women. “Men like food shows, but so do women, so now you have the co-viewing probability with “Bar Rescue.” That’s good for us, as we look to broaden what Spike TV is,” says Spike TV’s Levy. “At the end of each episode, everyone who’s ever thought they’d like to run a bar might say, ‘Hey, I could do that!’ Most guys fantasize about two things: being a pro football player or owning a bar. This definitely speaks to the bar fantasy!”