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Are You Ready for ‘Top Chef’ — But Make It Chuck E. Cheese?

A production company behind some top food shows is working with the Irving-based chain

The head of an animatronic mouse at Chuck E. Cheese.
Let’s get ready to rumble.
Mel Melcon /Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Courtney E. Smith is the editor of Eater Dallas. She's a journalist of 20 years who was born and raised in Texas, with bylines in Pitchfork, Wired, Esquire, Yahoo!, Salon, Refinery29, and more. When she's not writing about food, she co-hosts the podcast Songs My Ex Ruined.

Look out world, Chuck E. Cheese is ready for its close-up. The Irving-headquartered chain, best known as a top destination for kids birthday parties catered by pizza, has partnered with the L.A. production company Magical Elves, Dallas Innovates reports. If that name doesn’t ring any bells, it’s the production group behind numerous reality shows, including the food-centric Top Chef franchise on Bravo and Nailed It! on Netflix.

The report details a show concept focusing on something other than the food (imagine if they let folks make their own Chuck E. Cheese pizza creations). Instead, it will be an arcade-centric competition show, with contestants facing off in a ticket-earning contest that finds them going head-to-head on various games in the restaurant.

It’s a high-concept way for Chuck E. Cheese to pivot in the public’s mind to a Dave and Busters-esque destination that’s more of a barcade. The chain announced last year that it would eliminate its animatronic bands at all locations, NPR reported. The only one left standing can be found in L.A.

Melissa McLeanas, Chuck E. Cheese’s vice president of global licensing, media, and branded entertainment development, told Dallas Innovates that the brand is “thrilled” to be working with Magical Elves on the potential show. It’s the first venture for the company as it develops licensed merchandise and content around its original characters — hinting the Chuck E. Cheese mouse is going for its Mickey moment.