CNN’s getting into the marijuana business with High Profits.
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Anthony Bourdain has made a career of traveling—and eating his way through—the world. Following tradition, the globetrotting continues with season four of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which kicked off Sunday with a delicious tour of Shanghai.
While lunching at Roy Choi’s pot last week, Bourdain talked about the new season, first trips, controversial storylines, the show’s aesthetic, and storytelling at large. Prepare for a severe case of wanderlust, and some serious food cravings, of course.
This season, Bourdain traveled to (in order of air date): The Bronx, Paraguay, Vietnam, Tanzania, Iran, Massachusetts, and Jamaica. There’s still unexplored terrain for Bourdain, who visited Paraguay and Iran for the first time.
“I got a definite sense that I was somewhere I’d never been, never seen, and knew nothing about,” Bourdain said of Paraguay. “It’s a big blank spot on everybody’s sort of awareness.” The episode will explore the history of Bourdain’s great, great, great grandfather, Paraguayan émigré Jean Bourdain, as well as the culture and local dishes, including bife koygua, bori bori, and sopa paraguaya.
Bourdain expects the Iran episode to be the most controversial of season four. With Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi as guides, Bourdain visited Tehran and Isfahan to see sites such as Imam Square and the Borje Milad, and sample foods such as dizi and biryani. [Rezaian was detained in Iran more than two months ago, and according to The Washington Post is being interrogated on unspecified charges. Salehi was reportedly detained at the same time.]
“It will be a very provocative, deeply confusing show,” he said, adding that a lot of the issues touched upon don’t translate as well through television. He also spoke of the way we know Iran geopolitically, and how different the country is when you’re actually there, on the ground. “I’m trying to think of a place we were received more warmly than Iran.” He was at a loss.
In an taped interview that ran this afternoon on CNN’s Newsroom, anchor Fredricka Whitfield sat down with comedian and Fashion Police host Joan Rivers to discuss her show, her new book (Diary of a Mad Diva), and her upcoming Broadway appearances. But the discussion didn’t last long: Their conversation derailed after less than two minutes, when Rivers took offense at Whitfield’s line of questioning. Eventually, the octogenarian declared she had had enough and walked out on the interview, leaving a stunned Whitfield in her wake.
Things started going south when Whitfield suggested that Fashion Police—and, by implication, Rivers’s entire oeuvre—was “mean.” Rivers defended her show, saying, “It’s not mean. I tell the truth. I’m sure I say the same things your viewers say to their friends sitting next to them on the couch.” When Whitfield pressed on, pointing out that Rivers makes jokes about Casey Anthony and Princess Diana in her book, the comedian replied, “Life is very tough. And if you can make a joke to make something easier, and funny, do it.”
CNN announced a new prime-time lineup Thursday that includes Jesus, reality stars, and maybe even a little news.
Most provocatively, the network announced at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York City, The Jesus Code, a series which promises to take viewers on a “forensic and archaeological journey through the Bible” (cue jokes about CNN looking for a ratings miracle). Religious-themed programming has been considered hot since History stunned the industry with its ratings-shattering The Bible miniseries last year. The Jesus Code “will take viewers on a thrilling high-stakes journey through forensics, biblical archeology and forgery in history, exploring the evidence of Jesus’ existence by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.”
CNN is also bringing Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe back to cable TV with Somebody’s Gotta Do It, profiling “innovators, do-gooders, entrepreneurs, collectors and fanatics.” Another cross-country docu-series, not yet named, has Lisa Ling “immersing herself in sub-cultures that are unusual, bizarre and sometimes dangerous.” The network has also ordered The Hunt with John Walsh, which promises to “tell stories of ongoing international criminal investigations in which the suspect is a fugitive at large.” READ FULL STORY
Anthony Bourdain has traveled to all sorts of exotic places over the past couple of years, with none as important as where he’s taken CNN itself.
Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series, a culinary travelogue, swiftly became the network’s top-rated series since debuting last April, a bright spot at a place that was in a severe dry spell before the missing Malaysian plane kicked up ratings. A new eight-episode season begins Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT.
CNN host Piers Morgan issued one last plea for U.S. gun control as he wrapped up his show’s three-year run.
Morgan devoted the prime-time show’s final minutes Friday night to the issue that he said has been a “consistent and often very controversial” part of Piers Morgan Live.
The British-born host cited gun violence statistics and expressed dismay that mass shootings including those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., haven’t led to stricter laws.
Morgan blamed politicians that he said had been bullied into “cowardly” silence by a gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association.
CNN’s prime-time talk show Piers Morgan Live is coming to an end, the news channel said Sunday.
Morgan, who succeeded Larry King in the 9 p.m. EST time slot three years ago, was drawing lackluster ratings. In contrast, King had a 25-year run on CNN.
The airdate for Morgan’s last show has yet to be determined, CNN said in a statement.
Not surprisingly, a flurry of reports have surfaced that Jay Leno, the reigning King of Late Night, is already fielding inquiries from other networks about doing a new show once Jimmy Fallon succeeds him on The Tonight Show in April. With NBC unlikely to find him another spot — we all remember how that Leno-in-primetime experiment turned out — moving to another network makes sense for the host, and one option in particular could make for an attractive third chapter in his career: CNN.
You haven’t heard? Despite denials from CNN reps, insiders insist that CNN President Jeff Zucker — Leno’s old boss at NBC — met with the 63-year-old comedian about hosting a late-night show for the cable news network. Apparently, this is something that Zucker’s wanted for some time: he’s reportedly been on the lookout for a Daily Show-like program to help shore up their late evening ratings. And the cable network could certainly use a positive headline or two; Zucker and the net have been dogged with poor ratings and lackluster reviews since he took over the news network last year.
Leno would make an ideal addition to CNN, if only because he offers what even Piers Morgan sometimes struggles to achieve: a good interview. Guests have long singled out Leno’s desk to tell all, primarily because the senior comedian queries them in a friendly, non-threatening manner. Who knows what newsmakers he could attract if he were to headline a show on CNN?
Even more important, Leno could come with a strong and dedicated fan base. Season to date, Tonight is off to its biggest start 12 weeks into a new TV season in three years and continues to beat Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman. He’s up 11 percent in 18-49 viewers (with 1.133 million vs. 1.025 million last season) and up 10 percent in total viewers (3.821 million vs. 3.465 million). Tonight has attracted bigger 18-49 audiences than Late Show for the last 56 weeks in a row and topped Kimmel for 45 of their 49 head-to-head weeks. In total viewers, Jay has out-delivered Late Show for 60 weeks in a row and Kimmel for 49 of 49 weeks.
Naturally, NBC has tried to head off any talk that Leno won’t have a home once Fallon succeeds him. “Nothing would make me happier than to find ways to keep him involved with this network. That’s really up to him,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told The Hollywood Reporter.
This could get interesting again — or not. Thoughts?
CNN’s chief silver fox is staying put, at least through the next presidential election.
EW can confirm that Anderson Cooper has renewed his CNN contract, inking a deal to stay with the cable news network through 2016’s presidential race. (The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news.)
The intrepid newsman came to CNN in 2001, after a stint at ABC News (and host of The Mole); he’s hosted his signature show, Anderson Cooper 360°, since 2003. From September 2011 through May of this year, Cooper also hosted a syndicated talk show called Anderson.
CNN’s feature-length Hillary Clinton documentary — a project that was to focus on the former Secretary of State’s professional and personal life, helmed by Academy Award winner Charles Ferguson — is no more.
This morning, Ferguson published a lengthy Huffington Post article in which he reveals that he has canceled the project — and explains why he’s pulling out.
The reason, in a nutshell: “When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film,” Ferguson writes. “Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration. Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away.”
With a congressional vote on Syria looming, CNN can’t wait to get Crossfire started again.
The network says the daily debate program will begin Monday, Sept. 9. CNN had originally planned for the show to debut the following Monday, but it moved up the premiere because of President Barack Obama’s request that Congress vote on a military response against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons.
Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter, and Van Jones are the new combatants on Crossfire. The 30-minute show will air weekdays at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The show aired for many years on CNN before being stopped in 2005 after it was criticized by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart. But new CNN boss Jeff Zucker has advocated bringing it back.
The Republican National Committee, responding to plans by two television networks for programs about Hillary Rodham Clinton, approved a resolution Friday to block CNN and NBC from hosting GOP presidential primary debates.
The unanimous vote affirmed RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s threat against the networks if they went ahead with programs about Clinton, a possible Democratic presidential contender. Priebus said CNN has “an obvious bias.”
“That’s a network that won’t be hosting a single Republican primary debate,” Priebus declared, receiving a standing ovation from Republican activists from across the country gathered for the committee’s summer meeting in Boston. READ FULL STORY
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