An open letter to Alton Brown

Dear Alton,

“Good Eats,” which recently wrapped production after 14 seasons, was one of the most inventive things ever seen on American television – funny, informative, and accessible. It was good for food, it was good for science, and it was just plain fun to watch. The show was, as far as I can tell, your own creation.

I knew that all good things must come to an end, and even though I was sorry to see “Good Eats” go, I looked forward eagerly to whatever your next project would be. I knew that you could do other formats. Your miniseries “Feasting on Asphalt” and “Feasting on Waves” were travelogues that, while different from “Good Eats,” were just as good.

You may still be planning something great. I hope so. But it worries me that you seem to be ramping up your participation in Food Network’s competitive cooking shows.

I will admit it – I was a fan of the original, Japanese “Iron Chef,” and I loved the first few seasons of “Iron Chef America.” They were goofy fun, and you were a perfect choice for “Iron Chef America,” bringing your wit and knowledge to a play-by-play role.

But food competition shows have become redundant, repetitive, and overblown. They’re part of the reason I rarely watch Food Network anymore, having sought refuge in Cooking Channel, which is what Food Network used to be. (It even airs “Good Eats” reruns.) And in a crowded marketplace of food competition, the only way to stand out is to try to hype and overhype the soap-opera, professional-wrestling aspects of the competition. I felt like “The Next Iron Chef” was a waste of your talents, and now you’re barging headlong into the long-standing “Food Network Star” (formerly known as “The Next Food Network Star”) franchise.

Alton, I realize you have to earn a living, but this crap is beneath you. It’s so far beneath you it’s not even funny. The promos refer to you, Bobby Flay and Giada DeLaurentis as “food icons.” Well, you didn’t become a food icon by hosting crappy “reality” shows, and if crappy “reality” shows are the future of your career, you won’t be a food icon for long.

Please figure out some way to move in another direction. We’re not waiting for the next Food Network star, prancing around the kitchen spouting Guy Fieri-style catch phrases. We’re waiting for the next “Good Eats” or “Feasting on Asphalt.”

Please, I beg you, move on – even if it means switching networks.