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NC native working hard to be Fox's first "MasterChef"

This is the unabridged version of a story that ran today in our print edition.

Darryl Pierce doesn't want to be famous for his hands. He wants to be famous for what his hands can do, and that is make delicious food.

But the North Carolina native knew when he applied to be a contestant on the new Fox reality competition series "MasterChef," airing Tuesday nights at 9pm, that his hands would be the center of attention.

At least in the beginning.

Pierce was born with a rare genetic birth defect called ectrodactyly, which means he only has three fingers on each hand.  "I was hoping that the producers wouldn't make a big deal about my fingers," Pierce said in an interview last week. "Not because I'm uncomfortable or shy about it at all, but because I felt like it would take away from what I felt my biggest asset to the show was: my amazing food."

NC contestant talks about "MasterChef"

Today we profiled North Carolina native Darryl Pierce, who is a contestant this season on the new Fox show "MasterChef." If you haven't done so already, take a look at the profile because we think he's a pretty remarkable guy and he should be an interesting addition to "MasterChef's" contestant pool.

Here's a bit more from our interview with Pierce. Find out which roommate he got stuck with during taping and what he really thinks of celebrity judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot Bowles, and Joe Bastianich.

"MasterChef" on Fox gives amateur cooks a shot

The new Fox reality competition show "MasterChef" is equal parts "Hell's Kitchen" and "Top Chef," but this time giving true amateur cooks a chance to compete for the top prize: a quarter million dollars and their own published cookbook.

Already a big hit in Australia and the U.K., "MasterChef" starts out with 100 hopefuls and narrows the pool to 30 for the show. Unlike other cooking shows, we get to see the auditions and feel some investment in those who advance, so I guess we can toss a little "American Idol" into the pedigree.

What to Watch on Wednesday: As usual, all good shows must come to an end

The Unusuals (10pm, ABC) - It's become all too common lately, having to say goodbye to a good drama that ABC doesn't have the fortitude to stick with for more than a few weeks before axing (they will, however, give you all the reality junk like "Meet the Newlyweds" and "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" that you can choke down). Tonight is the series finale of "The Unusuals," a show that definitely grows on you the more you watch. (But it costs more to make than a reality show, so there you go). The episode a couple weeks ago when Banks was "trapped" in his own apartment and witnessed a murder across the street a la "Rear Window" was suspenseful, scary, and very entertaining. Oh well, at least USA, TNT, and AMC are still making dramas.

Top Chef Masters (10pm, Bravo) - Master chefs prepare island-inspired meals for the executive producers and writers of the TV show "Lost." Chefs tonight include Wylie Dufresne, Suzanne Tracht, Graham Elliot Bowles, and Elizabeth Faulkner

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