Chew Mario
Credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABC

ABC’s daytime experiment, The Chew, debuted today in the time formerly occupied by longtime soap All My Children, and while it certainly made me hungry, I’m not sure I’ll be lunching with this show every day.

It’s far too easy to nitpick a show’s first hour, so I’ll avoid digging too deep into the tiny issues — like the disappointment I felt when Mario Batali decided to appear via satellite in episode 1. (But I will forgive it because it was for charity.) But having sat in the audience at a taping and seen a finished show on-air today, there is one obvious problem facing the Chew crew (admit it, that’s sort of cute): There are too many cooks in this kitchen.

While I don’t think they could have assembled a more likable bunch of hosts, I’m overwhelmed by the pace of content and the multiple personalities trying to have a voice and conduct segments. And it’s a shame that some of the brightest personalities fall to the background as a result.

At the taping, the crowd particularly loved Top Chef alum Carla Hall’s “It’s Gon’ Be OK” segment, where she found quick solutions to everyday kitchen problems. (You’ll likely see that segment tomorrow.) But I can’t say I got my Carla fill today. Clinton Kelly also won my crowd over with his bubbly demeanor and willingness to make a dork of himself. On today’s show, he did so by telling a story about how he once insulted a neighborhood mom when he was 9 years old after critiquing her deviled eggs.

To me, the solution is simple: I honestly wouldn’t mind watching smaller, rotating combinations of this group helm the show every day. I like them all just fine, but I was overwhelmed by the activity. (Not to mention, when Dr. Oz, father to the show’s nutrition expert Daphne Oz, came out, I gave up trying to follow the conversation.)

So, the Chew had speed bumps in its first show, but what show doesn’t? I like the ensemble of personalities and the information (apple slice pancakes!) enough to give it a few more chances.

What about you, readers? What would you like to see from The Chew? Better tips? (Really, Clinton, I should cut a steak to serve it as an hors d’oeuvre? You can do better!) Slightly slower pace? More Mario? Sound off below! Also, here’s the big question to everyone: If you were a daytime viewer, was it a worthy AMC replacement? And if you aren’t a soap watcher, is this something that could make you start watching daytime TV?

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