CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Will a new television show devoted exclusively to bacon sizzle with crisp story lines or splatter its cable channel's chances of grabbing a thicker slab of the late-night viewing market?I guess we'll find out whether the "United States of Bacon" is all smoke or a meaty slice of life when it debuts Dec. 30 on Destination America, a branch of the Discovery network, which brought us "Gold Rush," "Moonshiners," and other bacon-friendly programs. I consider myself to be as big a fan of bacon as the next sodium-contaminated carnivore. In my childhood, the early morning aroma of the pork slices being seared was enough to motivate me out of bed and into the farmyard to complete the chores that stood between me and the pleasure of downing a greasy fistful of sugar-cured goodness.But I wonder if a show with a narrow focus on sowbelly has enough legs to make it through its 12-episode first season without becoming a boar -- pardon me, bore.
While actor Kevin Bacon would have been the ideal emcee, California chef Todd Fisher seems up to the challenge of hosting the new show. According to promotional material, Fisher will visit a new city each week to smoke out the best of its bacon-themed restaurant fare.The first stop for the "United States of Bacon" will be Milwaukee, where Fisher will sample, among other things, a cheeseburger topped with chunky peanut butter and bacon slices, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin "wings" served during a bar's happy hour, a bacon-encased meatloaf sandwich, and a slice or two of bacon-cheddar-apple pie.In Philadelphia, Fisher will chow down on a Turbacon sandwich -- hunks of bread piled with slices of bacon and turkey that are slathered in a cranberry-apple spread and topped with potato pancakes and gravy.The cable network has teamed up with BaconFreak.com, a website for sliced pork fanatics, making it possible to order "Bacon Is Meat Candy" T-shirts and bacon-flavored coffee during commercial breaks -- if you're not too busy warming up your home defibrillator unit.***Speaking of upcoming television programming, I expect to hear about a new "reality" series being planned as damage control for one produced by MTV that will begin airing in January."Bucks Mild" will feature vignettes about motivated movers and shakers of all ages at play at The Greenbrier, Snowshoe and other "positive image" locales across West Virginia.Should be a hoot.***On a final note, thanks to the anonymous donor who dropped off the Gazette coffee mug of my friend and former colleague, the late, great George Steele. The "Visitor" inscription still draws a smile, and reminds me that while it's a mighty world we live in, we're all just passing through.