Iron Chef Michael Symon ready for an 'Impossible' challenge

The Food Network recently announced that Michael Symon will take over as host of the "Dinner: Impossible" series, which challenges its chef to prepare meals under extreme conditions.

Symon, winner of the network's 2007 The Next Iron Chef competition, and appears on its "Iron Chef America" series, replaces Robert Irvine, who left following revelations that he'd exaggerated parts of his résumé.

Irvine had hosted the show for four seasons. The network says Symon has begun taping 10 episodes scheduled to begin airing this summer in the new one-hour format.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenges that are going to be thrown my way and nothing gets me more pumped than someone telling me that something is 'impossible,' " Symon said.

Symon, who is chef and owner of Lola and Lolita restaurants in Cleveland, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and was named by Food & Wine magazine as one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America in 1998.


Luke Macfarlane addresses his sexual orientation

Luke Macfarlane, who plays a gay man on "Brothers & Sisters," has confirmed that he's gay in real life.

The Canadian actor officially went public with his sexual orientation in a recent interview in Canada's Globe and Mail.

Coming out in Hollywood was not an easy decision, considering that it may affect his career.

"I don't know what will happen professionally. ... That is the fear, but I guess I can't really be concerned about what will happen, because it's my truth," says Macfarlane, 28. "There is this desire in L.A. to wonder who you are and what's been blaring for me for the last three years is how can I be most authentic to myself -- so this is the first time I am speaking about it in this way."

Despite going public, Macfarlane refuses to discuss his personal life, but admits he'd like to be married someday. He'll get a chance to feel what it's like on Sunday's "Brothers & Sisters" season finale when his character, Scotty Wandell, weds his partner, Kevin Walker (Matthew Rhys).

"How exciting that we're saying, 'This can be part of the cultural fabric, now,' because it is two series regulars, two people that you invite into your home and you see every week," he says. "It's telling of the beginning of more waves and I'm very proud of that.

"Most important, in portraying gay people ... it's just like portraying anybody else," he adds. "Gay marriage, it's not about two people being gay, it's about two people who love each other and who have decided to commit to each other for the exact same reasons any other couple would get married."

HBO announces a slate of documentary films

The writers' strike has left HBO bereft of original series for this summer -- no "Entourage," no "Flight of the Conchords," no "Big Love."

That doesn't mean, though, that the pay-cable channel will be without original programming. The seven-part miniseries "Generation Kill," an Iraq war story from "Wire" creator David Simon, debuts in July, and HBO has now announced a slate of documentaries to help fill out the schedule.

The docs will air at 8 p.m. Mondays starting June 9. They'll cover subjects ranging from high-school debate teams ("Resolved," June 16) to the Iraq war as seen through the eyes of Iraqi teenagers ("Baghdad High," Aug. 4) to profiles of influential African-Americans ("The Black List," Aug. 25).

Leading off the slate is "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired." Directed by Marina Zenovich, the film re-examines the director's conviction for unlawful intercourse with a minor, which caused him to flee to Europe, where he's lived for the past 30 years. Zenovich aims to challenge some of the myths about the case while also training a critical eye on the media and the legal system.

Other films in the series include "Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery," focusing on the area of Arlington where soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried; "The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly's Not for Sale," about the artist's fall from grace; and "Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal," about Fleiss' fitful attempts to open a brothel in Nevada that caters to female clients.