Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg go together like peanut butter and jelly, like milk and cookies, like chips and salsa, like a burger and fries. Basically, they're the duo we need in these dark and trying times.
Their new show, Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, premiered on VH1 to 2.3 million viewers and was the top premiere for a new cable unscripted franchise this year.
A combination of cooking show and family dinner, Stewart casually explains her cooking techniques while Dogg explains pop culture terminology. Each of them create their own spin on a dish with help from celebrity friends, with much gabbing and drinking in between. Everyone gathers at the end of the episode to taste their creations and play some sort of game around the table.
On paper, it makes very little sense that this duo has come together to create VH1 magic. But friendships don't always exist on paper, and sometimes you have to take a bigger risk than you realize.
SallyAnn Salsano, the creator of the show and the founder/CEO of 495 Productions, followed her creative senses to come up with the concept.
"I watch a ton of food shows, and I love pop culture," Salsano told Adweek. "I wanted to make the next version of those. So, I met with Chris McCarthy to figure out how to do this in a different way."
Salsano has created hit reality shows before, such as Jersey Shore, Party Down South and Blue Collar Millionaires, among many others, but Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party has been one of the smoothest sucesses.
"Martha and Snoop genuinely know each other," she said. "It wasn't like one of those crazy Hollywood random pairings where they just throw people together. They were each looking out for the other side, like a unified front."
"Originally, we'd just thought of a crazy celeb cooking show, but once their names came up, there was no coming back," she said.
Obviously, this show debuted at a somewhat divided moment in the United States. It wasn't the show's intention to give a sense of inclusiveness to a torn nation, though Salsano jokes that she "shouldn't get a Peabody or anything, but it actually came at a perfect time with a real message underneath it."
On the surface, the show is a fun mashup of cultures and personalities. Which is exactly what America needs to see right now: two people who, at first glance, may not have much in common but who can come together over commonalities like food and music.
Politics aside, that's a powerful image.
"They have the same interests, and they like each other," she said. "We have to start looking at people differently, accepting who they are, and moving on."
While viewers who tune in and live-tweet with the show ("They're always like 'What, Martha?! And Snoop?!"), advertisers have also shown big interest in the series. In fact, it's completely sold out for sponsorship through 2016.
"We've never had more requests for a show," said Salsano. "It appeals to everybody."
"If you think about it, everyone likes to have a meal together or to host a party and introduce one group of friends to a different group," she explained. "In the end, that's what a dinner party should be."
It's an unexpected show of delights. What comes across on air is a true friendship and two people just having fun in the kitchen together. While their guests are sometimes surprised by Dogg's cooking abilities, it's just as surprising to discover the kinds of celebrities who've been following Stewart for years.
This week's episode is appropriately Thanksgiving-themed, and as 2 Chainz is carving into the turkey, he explains that people "don't even understand how big of a deal this is" to be eating a turkey prepared by Martha Stewart herself.
"The underlying message behind the show, even down to the set design, is the feeling of, 'this is how I roll, this is how you roll, and now we roll together.'"