Is KFC about to become KGC as it tries out grilled chicken?

It's an idea so obvious I can't believe I'm writing right now. But here you go: KFC, also known by its original name, Kentucky Fried Chicken, is going to come out with a new product: Kentucky Grilled Chicken.

They've had some grilled products before, but nothing apparently compared to what they're going to be introducing to the nation next year. They've been trying it out in select cities since 2007, and so today, the Associated Press reported, the company informed investors of its plans for making grilled chicken as well known as fried.

I, for one, am thrilled. As someone who could probably be the stunt double for the Pillsbury Dough Boy, should he ever do any action-oriented commercials, I can use all the health alternatives to regular fast food that I can get. And while I've loved KFC's offerings ever since I was a kid and think of the restaurant chain as an American icon, their fried chicken probably is better as a very occasional treat or if as a regular meal, it should be eaten by people with a faster metabolism than my own.

But if their grilled chicken is relatively healthy, that might be another story.

In any case, I think KFC is being smart by bringing the word grilled into the equation and trying to make it co-equal with fried, rather than pretending that fried chicken isn't their thing. In fact, over the years, I've watched in mock horror and some digust as KFC has tried to downplay the word "fried" in their title.

It was in 1991, that Kentucky Fried Chicken started calling itself KFC. Same menu, same everything. Just hoping we'd forget what the initials stood for.

It was in 2004 that KFC began referring to KFC as "Kentucky Fresh Chicken" in their TV commercials. Maybe some of the younger patrons were confused, but in watching these dorky families chatter about "Kentucky Fresh Chicken," as if everyone at that household had always called it that, I just found my intelligence continually insulted.

In 2007, KFC began calling themselves Kentucky Fried Chicken again, at least on some of their signs and began rebranding themselves as... their old selves.

Although according to a March 2008 USA Today article about KFC's expansion into grilled chicken, when Kentucky Fried Chicken debuts their grilled chicken, their signs -- at least for awhile -- will include the word "Grilled Chicken" in the title. So maybe they're going to call themselves Kentucky Fried and Grilled Chicken?

Sigh. It's insane. So I'm not sure where I'll be eating next year --KFC? Kentucky Fried Chicken? Kentucky Fried and Grilled Chicken? Or Kentucky Grilled and Fried Chicken? -- but I'll be happy to sample their grilled chicken nonetheless.

Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
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