Rosedale native Stacy Keibler is happy to talk about her new cable TV show, her new blog, a new line of healthy foods she's introducing — but not her old boyfriend, George.
"I'm not really going to get into anything personal," the 33-year-old former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun last week. "So sorry, so sorry, but I'm just not going to talk about my personal life."
No need to be sorry, Stacy. Baltimore will still love you, even if you won't talk about the breakup of your widely publicized two-year relationship with George Clooney.
How could it not love the hometown girl who reportedly took the first $10,000 she made as a professional wrestling diva and used it to buy Ravens season tickets?
"Actually, it wasn't just tickets," she said when asked about the report that sounded a tad apocryphal. "I bought my [permanent seat license], so I actually own my seats." Even better.
Granted, the breakup with Clooney, first reported in People magazine, does come at a time a skeptic might call convenient, in terms of publicity. She has a 10-episode series, "Supermarket Superstar," set to debut, and it's the kind of cable competition series that could run for a long time and put her into a position to make lots of money with things like ... well, a new line of health foods.
But here in Baltimore, let's just call it coincidence and let Keibler talk about her role as host on the series that premieres at 10 p.m. Monday on Lifetime.
"Supermarket Superstar" is not a bad series as such productions go. Yes, it's derivative, but what isn't on competition and reality TV?
Each week, three contestants are given a chance to win $10,000 in cash and $100,000 in product development, with an ultimate goal of having the A&P supermarket chain put the winning contestant's product in its stores.
Each contestant comes with a recipe or food they think will be the next big thing on the grocery store aisles alongside Orville Redenbacher's popcorn or Mrs. Fields Cookies. Product placement is pretty much wall to wall, from Wesson and Chef Boyardee to A&P.
In the show's premiere, there's a gospel singer from Georgia who makes peach cobbler cupcakes, a longshoreman from California who specializes in cakes loaded with booze, and another contestant from California who dresses up like a fairytale princess in pink stilettos and hosts baking parties for little kids. Her specialty is butterscotch-chocolate-chip cookie-cupcakes. Yes, half-cookie, half-cupcake, and as much as kids might like the gooey concoction, the mentors think it's mostly just a hot mess.
Ah, yes, the mentors. That would be Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields herself), chef and TV host Michael Chiarello and advertising/packaging guru Chris Cornyn.
The three sample what the contestants bring and offer an analysis of what's right and (mostly) wrong with the products the hopefuls think is going to make them famous. Chiarello and Cornyn can be blunt.
Then the contestants get 90 minutes to go into the kitchen and try to retool their dreams by incorporating the mentors' suggestions — or not.
The longshoreman in the premiere is told to make his cakes with less alcohol, but he refuses to budge.
The retooled (or not) products are sampled by members of a focus group, who rate them. The lowest-rated contestant goes home, while the two survivors advance to a packaging boot camp with Cornyn. Their final packages will be judged by a buyer from A&P, who awards the $10,000 prize.
Along the way, Keibler is their guide. She introduces them to the viewers and to the judges and to the challenges they will face.
"Tonight, on 'Supermarket Superstar,' three home cooks compete to prove their product has what it takes to be the next big supermarket brand," she says at the top of the show.
Think Padma Lakshmi on "Top Chef," or at least that kind of role. Keibler is stiff at first, and plays it as the all-American girl next door with a smile on her face and twinkle of excitement in her eye.
She ends her big opening spiel by asking, "Who will be the next supermarket superstar?"
And as she hits the words "supermarket" and "superstar," her hands fly out to the side and she opens and closes them for emphasis. That's' what I mean by stiff. But once she relaxes, she does much better.
"I believe this show is really all about fulfilling dreams, so it's really a great show to be part of," Keibler said.
"I had so much fun interacting with the contestants. I loved being a part of their journey and really wanted everyone to win," she added. "And even the people who don't win get the exposure from the show, so it's a win-win situation for everyone on the show."
Nikki Lewis, owner of Rosedale's the Mallow Bar and a contestant in the episode that will air Sept. 2, said of her interaction with Keibler during their taping: "She was nice. She is really nice."
Keibler says she was invited to be part of the show by Harvey Weinstein, one of the two Weinstein brothers who founded Miramax Films and a television production wing of their company that makes such shows as "Project Runway."
"I got a call from Harvey Weinstein, and I was pitched the show by him and [Weinstein Company president of television] Meryl Poster," Keibler said. "And I was actually already developing my own healthy-food line. I love food. I love to cook. I love to eat. I love to travel and experience all kinds of different food. So for me, the show seemed like a natural fit."
Keibler said it's her "passion to really educate people on what they're eating and putting into their bodies." She said her food line will "target everyone from the age of 2 to adults in convenient healthy foods."
Can you say supermarket synergy?
Keibler has other projects in the works as well. This does not appear to be someone sitting around feeling bad about a breakup.
"I'm working to develop a women's apparel line for the NFL with Meesh & Mia [a company known for its collegiate women's apparel]," she said. "The fan base is growing for the women for football, so I'm super-excited about that. I'm also getting ready to launch my blog this week that I've been working very hard on, skphilosphy.com.
"So the food line, the show, the blog, the clothing line — yeah, just keeping busy."