Tio Pepe extends Hell's Kitchen sponsorship for a second series

LONDON - Spanish sherry brand Tio Pepe has renewed its sponsorship of 'Hell's Kitchen' on ITV1 and ITV2 for a seven-figure sum.

The sponsorship package includes broadcast credits on ITV1 and ITV2, website sponsorship at www.itv.com/hell, SMS and phone-voting activity, licensing and off-air marketing and, for the first time, interactive sponsorship.

Michelin-starred chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and Gary Rhodes have been lined up to replace the fiery Gordon Ramsay after he signed a golden handcuffs deal with Channel 4 last year.

Like the US version of 'Hell's Kitchen' made by Fox, the second UK series will feature 10 members of the public who think they can make it as professional cooks, instead of the celebrities of the first series.

They will be put into two teams headed by Novelli and Rhodes and go head to head each night to see who can produce the best food. Viewers will be able to vote by phone or text each night and the overall winner of the series will win a restaurant.

The sponsorship deal was negotiated by ITV Sales and John Ayling & Associates, on behalf of drinks company Gonzalez Byass UK, makers of Tio Pepe.

Jeremy Rockett, marketing director of Gonzalez Byass UK, said: "Tio Pepe, and Fino in general, needs this kind of mainsteam exposure -- in the context of good food -- that this show provides to move the drink on to more consumer's radar and into their comfort zones."

'Hell's Kitchen' was a ratings success for ITV when it debuted last year, attracting 8m viewers at its peak. Stars such as former 'Coronation Street' actress Amanda Barrie and 'Brookside' star Jennifer Ellison, who won the series, learned how to cook in a real restaurant.

Tio Pepe said that sales of the drink increased by 30% by the end of the two-week series last year.

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