‘America’s Test Kitchen,’ Christopher Kimball resolve lawsuit

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A heated dispute between producers of popular public TV cooking shows has cooled following a settlement between America’s Test Kitchen and its former CEO and host Christopher Kimball.

The two sides announced an “amicable separation” and resolution to the nearly three-year lawsuit in a Thursday press release. A trial had been scheduled for October.

The release provided few details about the settlement agreement. The two sides “agreed to business terms” that allow ATK and Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, Kimball’s latest production, to “coexist in the marketplace,” according to the release.

Kimball is also returning his shares in the America’s Test Kitchen media company for an undisclosed price, according to the release. Kimball declined to comment on the agreement.

Kimball co-founded and helped build America’s Test Kitchen into a multimedia company catering to home cooks. ATK produces two public TV cooking series (America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country) and publishes its recipes in magazines and cookbooks. After a 2015 contract dispute, he left the company and launched Milk Street Kitchen, which was later retitled Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. A year later, ATK filed a lawsuit claiming that Kimball “literally and conceptually ripped off” its content and business model.

Kimball countersued, denying the claims against him and accusing ATK of using the lawsuit as a “nationwide media campaign” that defamed him. He pointed to ATK’s website whywearesuingchristopherkimball.com, which is no longer active.

Kimball told Current in 2018 that the lawsuit hadn’t distracted him from his new production. “You get through the first six months or so, then it’s just background noise,” he said. “There’s actually not much going on. So we go for a month without even thinking about it at this point.”

68 thoughts on “‘America’s Test Kitchen,’ Christopher Kimball resolve lawsuit

  1. Cannot unsubscribe from his shows,when you click to unsubscribe it takes you to another of his sites,,pretty shrewd I would say.

  2. Folks—don’t believe a word about this so-called “lawsuit” against Christopher Kimball. After David Nussbaum became the CEO and chairman of the board of ATK, there was a concerted attempt to RETAIN Kimball, not fire him. Kimball wanted to produce a different show and refused to sign a non-compete agreement. Hence, ATK filed a lawsuit which Kimball correctly called a “publicity stunt.” Chris was a minority owner of ATK and had no motives for harming his own financial investments. It has been Nussbaum who can’t keep his story straight—and here are just of few of his subsequent contradictory statements….

    “We made every effort to offer Chris a reasonable contract that reflected his significant contributions to the company and are disappointed that we could not reach agreement.”

    “It was not a contract fight, it really wasn’t,” says Nussbaum. “It was the company building, along with Chris, a long term succession plan and Chris saying that he wanted to do something a little bit different as well. We still maintain good relations (I had lunch with him last week) and work together on the radio show, so it’s really evolving — it’s not any kind of revolutionary change.”

    “Chris is an owner of the company and continues to be and wants to see this company thrive….”

    “He was asked to stay with the company and focus his talents on creativity, on-air presence and in-person appearances…Despite our interest in having him stay and after negotiating with him in good faith for many months, he ultimately rejected that approach. We are disappointed that he has chosen a new path, but we respect his choice.”

    Respect his choice? ATK “respected his choice” by filing a nuisance suit against Kimball to divert attention from their own egregious bungling of the situation. The real villain here is not Kimball, or Julia, or Bridget, or Dan, or Bryan, or Erin….etc.

  3. As a member of the public viewing audience, I’m just glad I get another cooking show. I like the fact that Milk Street focuses on cuisines from around the world.

  4. America’s test kitchen/cook’s country just isn’t the same without Christopher Kimball. Loved what his personality brought to the show. I definitely don’t follow the show like I used to. Miss you Chris!

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  6. I really liked the program and everyone else, but truly is not the same with out Christopher Kimball he had that spark that will make me want to try new things.good luck to you all.

  7. I think everyone won. Sometimes creative people want to do different things. Clearly Kimball wanted to branch out. He was able to do that with his new show and it has a following. But it is also reasonable for ATK, and it’s millions of Fans, to want keep the format they have loved for years. And they have succeeded with the new hosts. Was Kimball plus ATK a winning formula……..YES. But we fans are lucky that we now have 2 shows to watch that are just a little different from each other to make it interesting to watch both.

  8. Just watched the 20th anniversary show..it was as dull and boring as i expected. Julia and Bridget were great as sidekick personalities, but the real personality is gone. The irony of the show now is that with all its tested recipes, it now has no flavor. The whole cast now comes across the screen as awkward, insecure and just plain lost. I give it another season or so before its cancelled. Besides they’ve all but run out of recipes at this point.. How many more times can they roast a chicken anyways lol

    • I wholeheartedly agree. Honestly I had never seen this new incarnation (aren’t the old shows still rerun in certain markets?). I’m watching it and I’m like, Where’s Chris? Who are these new people? Everyone’s come out their shell trying to be stars. Some are ok. Some things I liked. But for the first 50 min there wasn’t a mention or sighting of Chris, not even a picture on the wall! Before revealing their much-anticipated #1 dish (Shrimp Scampi?) I was hoping there might be a tribute, maybe even a special appearance (although it was becoming clear it wasn’t happening). Then the “sidekick personalities” all posed for that disgraceful final shot – with big wide grins. How can you do a “20 Anniversary” show without the driving force behind its first 15? The founder who nurtured all your careers? Yes, the real personality is gone.

    • I love the women, but they are passengers, not drivers. I don’t watch the show at all but still subscribe to the all access recipes. I’m watching Milk Street and Chris.
      BTW: When Chris first vanished from ATK, I posted a question on the ATK Facebook page and they blocked me even though the question was benign. So that left a bad taste. Pun intended.

    • I didn’t care for Chris at all. So stuffy and elitist sounding. Didn’t seem the type that I would ever be comfortable around. The women rock!!!

      • I did not care for Christopher either. He was prim, stuffy and condescending.
        I did catch his new show recently and I enjoyed the content but he was the same:
        Prom, stuffy, and condescending!

      • I did not care for Christopher either. He was prim, stuffy and condescending.
        I did catch his new show recently and I enjoyed the content but he was the same:
        Prom, stuffy, and condescending!

  9. Without Christopher it just isn’t the same. The supporting cast has always been and still is very good, but something seems to be missing. I’ll still watch but I miss Christopher.

  10. When I watch any cooking channel I always learn something about cooking./baking. Thank you ALL. I am definitely a better cook because of you guys 😊.

  11. Chris was the show. (Everyone else are surely very good too. But not the same level.) He is an amazing expert and brought more information and revelation to the show than any other chef on any show. People talking of his phoniness or being a prune are foolish!!

  12. I am a long time ATK watcher and love the show. But I got tired of Kimball’s snide aside comments and the eye rolling that came with it. It always felt to me he was there not to support a predominately female cast but to “show who’s the man of the house”.
    I think the new format is fresh and will have years of staying power.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. I love Julia and Bridget without Chris. He seemed to bring tension to the show and seemed condescending. Even before he left the show, I wondered if he really wanted to be on it.

      • I agree. I thought Chris was condescending, just as you noted. I love Bridget and Julie… they make the show for me.

    • The show is much better with Julia & Bidgett, they are so genuine & cheerful. It brings a freshness & energy to the show without an attitude. I watch it more now.

    • That is a perfect explanation of why I didn’t like him. Snarky and condescending, thought he was being “cute”. Nope. Better without him

  13. Chris strikes me as a stuck-up, arrogant prig from the moneyed Westchester County, and he never passes up an opportunity to let you know how traveled and elite he is. (Witness “Milk Street,” which is essentially his own viewer-funded personal travelogue with some cooking thrown in. On his new show, Chris parades around sock-less in loafers and generally comes across as a prim little flower.)

    ATK and Cook’s Country have always been must-watch shows for me, but now I can actually enjoy the shows without a couple glasses of wine to dull my disdain for the cretin.

    I watch CKMS begrudgingly for the excellent chefs and recipes, and try to tune out the poser hovering over the talent tossing out pointless opinions.

  14. I agree wholeheartedly. I love Julia and Bridget without Chris. He seemed to bring tension to the show and seemed condescending. Even before he left the show, I wondered if he really wanted to be on it.

  15. I loved the watching Chris on both ATK and Cooks Country. Never could stand Julia or Bridget though. Talk about stuck up , those two are. I no longer watch and recipes are so repetitive. I will stay up until 3 in the am if I miss Milk Street earlier in the evening. Love the recipes and content. It’s Chris who originated the tone of how all the shows are presented. I have a first printing of the Yellow Farmhouse cookbook. He knows his stuff and I am happy he is doing something that makes him happy. Too bad John T seems so jealous of a man who earned his dues.

  16. Love Chris, he’s a genius and love’s food. I still enjoy ATK, with it’s food tasting/testing and the kitchen gadget vetting/rating. Milk Street absolutely growing on me. Cheers to Chris for combining the art of cooking with the scoence of cooking.

  17. I love both shows. It’s great to have two excellent cooking shows to watch. I’m a big fan of Adam Reid and Jack Bishop as well as Julia and Bridget. Milk Street could use a little more diversity other than just Chris all the time.

  18. I think ATK is great without him. It’s less folksy and less sarcastic. The shared hosts and new chef faces have improved the show overall.
    Milk Street is very unique and I like the different ethnic foods they show. Kimball is also less silly and sarcastic on Milk Street. The shows have definite similarities but differ enough to not be copycats. I enjoy them both.

  19. I’m actually watching ATK right now. I don’t understand why everything is so scripted. These “helpful” tidbits Julia reads after every step are so annoying. I enjoyed the show more when it was a natural conversation.

  20. While I’m sure the management change at ATK was difficult for him, there’s no question that Mr Kimball and crew were very shady and unethical. And it is true that he’s just ripping off the ATK style, from the show to the magazine. I get that he helped create the ATK style, but if you’re breaking out on your own to do something you think is “better”, then do something unique. If you’re doing something more “global”, then how about at least making the magazine look like that?! He should have no need to copy the ATK model unless he’s a one trick pony. I always thought he was kind of a d!ck on ATK, with a snide and sarcastic attitude.

    • How could one copy themselves, Chris is the origination of the style. It was his design and techniques that made the show from the start. He was the one who designed the procedures. So when he went elsewhere of course there are going to be similarities. But did you notice , it was the ATK style that changed, which proves the point. Though they attempt to keep the methods, it falls flat because it isn’t natural for them to perform that way, but it was for Chris.

  21. I enjoy ATK. Good riddance, Mr. Oversized Ego Kimball. It’s been nice to watch the show without your lack of expertise.

  22. I watched for years, however after giving it a chance (several) it isn’t what it used to be. I can’t get past the fake laughs the women share, constantly! Chris WAS ATK. So they have lost me as a customer, a viewer, & a fan.

  23. I came to this very late in the day and started with Milk Street and moved back to America’s Test Kitchen.
    I enjoy the production values of both shows. However, the two women appear phoney. Constantly enthusing over quite average dishes and generally inauthentic. Chris on the other hand is a breath of fresh air as he is just himself.

    I’m originally from the U.K. and successful shows often experience a litigious break up – ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and Top Gear to name but two.

  24. Kimball is a dryball and I feel sorry for the cooks….looks like they are kissing his ???

  25. I have watched a couple of milk street episodes just can’t get into. I don’t think Kimball brings anything whatsoever to the show but I can’t see where he brought anything to ark either. He was always nothing more than a kitchen ornament just kinda standing g around. I still watch atk and cc and find the ladies quite charming.

  26. Having just recently discovered Cook’s Country and ATK on Pluto TV, I haven’t seen any episodes with Chris. I must say, I love Bridget and Julie on the program. Judging from the comments I have read here, I get the distinct feeling I would not have enjoyed watching him on America’s Test Kitchen.

  27. I actually like all 3 shows and watch them whenever I can. I have gotten great ideas from them and they have definitely made me a better cook.

  28. Chris was the heart of the show…when he left that was clear. The women are stilted and staged and have phoney laughs. This wasn’t true when Chris was there, perhaps because he made it all happen, or maybe they’re starstruck. It all feels quite awkward. I have no problem with the rest of the cast, in fact I really enjoy Adam and Jack! I really enjoy the whole flavor of Milkstreet, pun intended!

  29. I think Chris is a drip. All he does is stand around, push up his glasses (he needs to find a pair that fit) and eat. I only recently started watching ATK and Cook’s, and am so glad he was not on either of them. I can see why he got sued. He apparently doesn’t know corporate ethics; sounds like there was a criminal element to the actions he took—creating his new business / company on ATK’s dime (and dime). What a jerk!
    BC

  30. I think Chris is a drip. All he does is stand around, push up his glasses (he needs to find a pair that fit) and eat. I only recently started watching ATK and Cook’s, and am so glad he was not on either of them. I can see why he got sued. He apparently doesn’t know corporate ethics; sounds like there was a criminal element to the actions he took—creating his new business / company on ATK’s dime (and time). What a jerk!
    BC

  31. So typical of successful entities who come into big money-shove out the old guy who started the whole thing and made many, many, people rich and some famous. Kind of reminds one of the husband whose wife puts him through law/medical/whathaveyou college, becomes successful, then dumps his hard working and sacrificing loyal wife for a young bimbo….

  32. So typical of successful entities who come into big money-shove out the old guy who started the whole thing and made many, many, people rich and some famous. Kind of reminds one of the husband whose wife puts him through law/medical/whathaveyou college, becomes successful, then dumps his hard working and sacrificing loyal wife for a young bimbo….

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