'Martha & Snoop' Creator Talks Bringing the Duo Together for VH1's Celebrity Cooking Show

Courtesy of VH1
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg in a teaser for Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party.

The queen of home furnishing and celebrity chef Martha Stewart as well as rap veteran Snoop Dogg are preparing a night of laughs and highs for their forthcoming VH1 show Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party.

The cooking show will feature Stewart and the Doggfather whipping up dishes in the kitchen alongside with celebrity guests every week. After joining the businesswoman in appearances on her talk show and roasting Justin Bieber together on Comedy Central last year, the real-life friends learned from each other while taping the show.

"He really approached every single day with 'What am I gonna learn how to make today?' and 'What am I gonna show Martha what I can do?' He proved himself to be very adept in the kitchen, by the way," Stewart told Billboard. Adds Snoop, "I learned the preparation from Martha, and that’s key. A lot of time you can go into a meal and not prepare it the right way and it comes out wrong. I feel like preparation takes the meal to a whole 'nother level."

In advance of the show's premiere Monday night (Nov. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on VH1), Billboard spoke to the show's creator, 495 Productions founder and president SallyAnn Salsano, about how the duo came together, what sets Martha & Snoop apart from her previous on-air stints (Jersey Shore and True Life, to name a few) and how she became one of Hollywood's go-to producers.

How did you come up with the concept for the show?

I'm a huge fan of cooking shows. I probably watch more of the Food Network and probably eat more than a normal human being should, so that combination is kind of natural. There's so much on with Master Chef and I'm a huge lover of Top Chef. I was like, what would be my version that's a little bit crazy? I sat down with [VH1 and Logo president] Chris McCarthy. Literally, it was the first day I met him and he's like, "If you could do anything, what would you do?" I was like, I want to do a celebrity cooking show. He's like, "I'll take it."

It was right after the Bieber roast, and we automatically were like, "Can we get [Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg]?" and then it was like, "Well, let's ask." It was truly the support and the love of the idea from McCarthy and his team that allowed us to get the level of talent that we did. They had the patience and the time and were willing to work together to come up with a format that those guys love.

You think about Martha and Snoop, and you have two massive brands. Side by side, they're not exactly the same. I have never worked in a situation where two hosts loved and respected each other in such a way that it was always a unified front. They would always sign off on everything together.

And if we're all more open-minded, we probably would have a lot more friends.

How does this project differ from the other shows that you've done like Jersey Shore, True Life and working on The Real?

It's kind of a little piece of everything. All the shows in the past were about good people wanting to have a good time. For Jersey Shore, a part of that show was a family sitting around and having dinner together every Wednesday and every Sunday night, just like I did in my house, growing up in an Italian family. We simply sat down and ate dinner together, and those kids were the same way, because that's how they were raised. Your whole life is about food, fun, family and your friends, and that's kind of what [Martha & Snoop] is. The difference is the setting.

What do you consider the three most vital ingredients to creating a ratings magnet?

I think it has to be genuine. That's number one. I think we approach all of our shows with a total genuine approach. The big thing was sitting down with Snoop's team and Martha's team, and just saying, "What is it that you want this show to be?" That's super important and it has to be true to the people that are on it. Number two, it has to be fun. And the third one is relatability. Can you relate? Do you watch the show and go, "Damn, I would eat that" or "What I would do for a seat at that table..."

Something that was very important to both Martha and Snoop was that the audience that came did not come there to sit and watch people eat whatever they were cooking. We had a full kitchen -- it was like a catering hall at a wedding. And we fed that entire audience every single thing. They're like, "We don't care if it makes camera or not, we want people to walk away having a great experience." The network rallied behind them and was like, "Absolutely."

 

You are one of the most successful women in the reality TV production space. How has your experience prepared you for that?

I think it's basically the love of the game. I always say anybody can get hired, but you don't get paid to care, and so unfortunately, sometimes I care too much to a fault to my own detriment, to be honest. I just love what I do. The biggest pat on the back to me is people watching your show or being proud of a show that you've made. I consider every show I take, every job as a gift and an opportunity. I wasn't raised to think I was going to be a Hollywood producer. It sounds so silly to me, but my mom was a nurse, my dad was a garbage man, legitimately, and that's not exactly your gateway to Hollywood. I just worked my ass off.

Going back to the show, what do you hope viewers take away from the show?

I want them to just tune in and have a good time. They are going to be entertained. They're going to watch good conversation, great celebrities who learn how to cook and not be intimidated by it. Sometimes when you watch a cooking show, you go, "My God, I'll never be able to do that." This show is made for the people, and I literally think it's an escape. It's such a good time, and I think if you are a fan of Snoop's and a fan of Martha's, tune in and then you'll be a fan of both of them immediately. You will actually like them both even more after watching the show.

What is next on your plate?

There is a lot coming up, but most are not announced yet. I have my first Bravo show coming, and I’m so excited to be working with them. I also have the next season of Blue Collar Millionaires coming up on CNBC.