Updated: 2:30 p.m. ET
Chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is jumping from the
Travel Channel to join CNN as host of a new weekend program, CNN announced
The show will launch on Sundays in primetime in early 2013 on CNN and CNN
International with repeat airings on Saturday nights. As part of the deal,
Bourdain will also provide commentary for other CNN programs and platforms, a
role he could start as soon as he is done with his commitments to Travel
Channel this fall, CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker told B&C.
Bourdain has hosted his Travel Channel series No Reservations since 2005 and his CNN
show will follow a similar model; it will be shot on location and will look at
cultures around the world through their food, dining and travel rituals.
CNN, which recently hit its lowest primetime ratings in
twenty years, struggles to hold an audience outside times of breaking news, and
Bourdain's show will help broaden the network's weekend programming beyond its
traditional newsroom shows.
"On the weekends in particular there's an opportunity to go
beyond just politics and wars and breaking news," Whitaker said. "This reflects
to some degree a strategy but I think it's also because we love him and what he
does. It's no secret that we're also looking for different kinds of programs
that people will view as appointment television."
Zero Point Zero Productions, which produces Bourdain's other Travel Channel
series The Layover and No Reservations, will also produce the CNN
Travel Channel's statement below:
"As part of Travel Channel's strategic repositioning of the brand and its core programming mission, the Network has been aggressively developing new talent, new voices and new shows, as announced last year. Anthony Bourdain has been an iconic figure at Travel Channel for eight groundbreaking seasons of the Emmy award-winning No Reservations and he just finished shooting the latest season of No Reservations. Additionally, we just began filming with Tony for season two of The Layover. Original episodes of both series will run through 2013 and Bourdain programs will always have a home on Travel Channel. We are proud of the great storytelling Tony has brought to the Network. We congratulate him on his new venture and look forward to working with him on new projects in the future. "