September 23, 2021


For Everyone Else

Why CNN Created ‘Stanley Tucci: Hunting for Italy’

The sequence is the 1st first journey-foods demonstrate on the network considering the fact that Anthony Bourdain died in 2018: “What he did is open up the doorways to all of us who had been intrigued in food items, and vacation, to explore in our own techniques.”

When Anthony Bourdain’s Components Unidentified debuted on on CNN practically 8 several years in the past, it was noticed as a righteous gamble by the cable news large. Coming off a heated (and extremely rated) presidential election, CNN was betting that its viewers would want an escape from the information cycle, and that Bourdain would be the a person to deliver it.

The gamble paid out off. Parts Unknown became the major strike in the CNN primary series arsenal, protecting a regular presence in CNN’s lineup until finally Bourdain’s untimely demise in 2018. The channel has stayed absent from the meals/vacation genre since then, and leaned into the heavy, Trump-pushed news cycle to document ratings.

Now, on the other hand, CNN executives are betting that after yet again its viewers will want a reprieve, and that actor Stanley Tucci — joined by wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano, a famed pizzaiolo, and a DJ who goes by the stage identify “Don Pasta” — is the crucial to viewers’ hearts, or bellies.

Stanley Tucci: Seeking for Italy is set to premiere on CNN on Feb. 14, observing the actor travel to a distinctive Italian location in each and every of the season’s six episodes, discovering the food stuff culture along the way. It also marks CNN’s return to the style, just after two many years checking out other concepts.

“I realized Tony a little bit, he was an outstanding head, a authentic raconteur, and a terrific explorer,” Tucci claimed about Zoom in late January. “The demonstrate that we are executing is distinctly different than his: I am not nearly as adventurous as Tony was, not approximately. Or as courageous. But what he did is open up the doors to all of us who were being interested in foods, and journey, to discover in our individual techniques. He was, and even now is, and generally will be, a hero of mine. He was an extraordinary author, a good particular person, and a good explorer of the human condition as a result of food stuff.”

For CNN and its primary series group, led by executive vp expertise and information progress Amy Entelis, it is also an affirmation of the system that Bourdain kickstarted.

“The Bourdain demonstrate was a massive experiment at the time, but it immediately turned very clear that our audience was really fascinated in stories further than breaking information, but that were appealing, substantive, thought-provoking stories about meals and society about the planet,” Entelis says. “There was by no means a issue in our minds about regardless of whether we would return [to the genre], it was likely to be, what is the appropriate show, who is the proper human being, what is the right time in terms of launching anything new. I consider we really feel definitely superior correct now about placing this present out in the earth.”

When Bourdain joined CNN, the go was considered with skepticism and uncertainty. At the sequence premiere party in 2013 at Porter Household in New York’s Time Warner Centre, he expressed enjoyment to me at the probability of CNN’s resources finding him locations he couldn’t accessibility ahead of, and trepidation in acknowledging that his show’s structure was a departure from what CNN was recognised for.

In the end, of class, it grew to become an award-successful staple of CNN’s lineup, and served build the CNN Originals brand: “Sunday evening is our evening, Sunday night is a night we have built for shows of quite superior excellent on CNN,” Entelis suggests.

For Tucci, the clearly show is the achievement of a notion that he has very long experienced.

“The thought of Seeking for Italy was a little something I have experienced in any mind for a really lengthy time … I am fascinated by the tradition, the profound background, and of training course the meals,” Tucci suggests. “I desired also to present that Italy isn’t just pizza and pasta and spaghetti and meatballs. It is an very intricate and diverse cuisine.”

Each individual episode will see the actor talking with cooks, lecturers, artisans and others (like Don Pasta), and creating and tasting the specialties of each area.

“When you meet the folks who have been producing [the food] for decades, and discovering it from their moms and dads and grandparents, that is when your lifestyle, and your kitchen, completely changes,” Tucci provides.

And it can be a story that Tucci is only just beginning to tell.

“When Stanley and I 1st achieved, he advised us there were being 22 locations of Italy, and that he preferred to do every single a single. So for noticeable motives we selected some of the far more well-known locations as a start out, but I know Stanley has a good deal of regions left to just take us to in Italy,” Entelis recalls, including that the concept could perform for other nations as properly.

Requested if he would be fascinated in continuing the sequence outside of the six episodes, Tucci responds in the affirmative. “I imagine we can imagine it is up to Amy if she would like to pay out for it.”