CNN will cobble together a final seven-episode season of “Parts Unknown” with Anthony Bourdain, who died of suicide in June. It’s set to air this fall.
Only one episode featuring Bourdain and fellow CNN host W. Kamau Bell in Kenya was fully completed before his death with his signature narration.
Bourdain’s production company will use pre-existing footage to create four other episodes in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Big Bend area of Texas along the border of Mexico, the Asturias region of Spain and Indonesia. Without his post-production narration, the producers will use audio that he shot while on location.
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Another episode will be focused on outtakes and anecdotes from crew and producers. The final “Parts Unknown” will be more of a tribute from fans and friends.
“Each one will feel slightly different depending on what’s gathered in the field,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content at CNN who handles original series and films, to the Los Angeles Times. “They will have the full presence of Tony because you’ll see him, you’ll hear him, you’ll watch him. That layer of his narration will be missing, but it will be replaced by other voices of people who are in the episodes.”
The network relied on Bourdain’s Emmy-winning show for ratings, especially on Sunday nights, where it regularly propelled the network ahead of Fox News and MSNBC among 25- to 54-year-olds. On CNN since 2013, Bourdain’s show was CNN’s original series calling card, the show that was able to charge the most ad dollars, according to Standard Media Index. The Los Angeles Times story said over a nearly nine-month period through June 14, CNN aired his show 166 times.
While Bourdain’s show is in effect irreplaceable, CNN still has other original series options, including Bell’s “United Shades of America,” “This is Life With Lisa Ling,” “The 2000s,” and “The History of Comedy.” And more are in the pipeline including Atlanta-based Sanjay Gupta’s “Chasing Life,” where he travels the world seeking secrets to living longer, healthier and happier.