“Parts Unknown” (pictured) a food-and-culture travelogue hosted by the outspoken chef, has become a flagship series for the all-news cabler. It ranks among CNN’s most-watched programs, and it has earned Primetime Emmys two years in a row for informational series.
Morevoer, “Parts Unknown” and Bourdain have served as a template for the kind of personality-driven unscripted series that the cabler hopes will bring a more reliable recurring audience to the channel amid the ups and downs of breaking news periods.
“This Is Life with Lisa Ling” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe” bowed in September and October, respectively. In its Wednesday 9 p.m. airings to date, “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” has averaged 804,000 viewers — a big improvement over the aud that “Piers Morgan Tonight” had drawn in the same time slot.
By next year, CNN said it intends to have a dozen unscripted series on the air. The next one on tap is “High Profits,” a series following two “marijuana moguls” as they try to build franchise businesses amid the wave of legalization efforts in multiple states.