Wolfgang Puck is new ingredient in Vegas

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has opened his latest restaurant at the fictional Montecito Resort & Casino on the set of NBC's drama Las Vegas, and as part of the deal, he and his restaurant will be featured on the show beginning January 9.

Las Vegas creator and executive producer Gary Scott Thompson said Puck's company helped finance the cost of building a real-life restaurant for the show--the latest addition to the Montecito set, which already features a casino floor, lounge, club, sports book, and reception area. Luxury automaker Aston Martin is among the other advertisers that have been featured on Vegas, in exchange for helping to finance replicas of their real-life businesses on the enormous Montecito set that occupies six soundstages at Culver Studios in Culver City.

Thompson said he did not know whether Puck or other advertisers had to pay additional product-placement fees to NBC or commit to media buys with the network as part of their deals. An NBC spokeswoman was unavailable for comment.

"Wolfgang Puck is the man who originally brought world-class cuisine to Las Vegas, revolutionizing dining in sin city," Thompson said. "Wolfgang's restaurant is the perfect dining destination for the characters of Las Vegas."

On the January 9 episode of the show, Puck will be featured in a storyline about the grand opening of his restaurant. "He'll be opening Wolfgang Puck at the Montecito, which is his seventh Las Vegas restaurant," Thompson said. "What really benefits us is that it's a real restaurant and he's a real person." He added that Puck and his restaurant would be featured in numerous Vegas episodes.

Puck's company furnished the tablecloths, dishes, silverware, and uniforms for the restaurant and consulted with the production to make sure the restaurant was as true to life as possible and up to Puck's standards, Thompson said. In addition, all the food served at the restaurant on the show will be provided by Puck's establishments. In addition, the restaurant kitchen will feature top-of-the-line appliances from NBC parent company GE that will be visible to viewers.

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