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How Anthony Bourdain Became a Fit for CNN

In The New York Times this morning, David Carr talks with Anthony Bourdain who is taking his food/travel/world events show to CNN next year. In Carr’s column, we learn why CNN cooked up the idea in the first place:

Mark Whitaker, managing editor of CNN Worldwide, has been working to decrease the network’s reliance on politics, where its middle-of-the-road approach often suffers in comparison to the edgier, more partisan offerings of Fox News and MSNBC. He began talking with Mr. Bourdain back in March in the belief that the chef’s penchant for traveling to far-flung places like Thailand and Saudi Arabia was a fit with CNN’s international credentials. More important, Mr. Whitaker wanted CNN’s first move out of its lane to come with a ready-made audience attached. CNN has no trouble attracting eyeballs, it just has trouble persuading them to stick around when the world is not on fire.

“Tony is appointment viewing and sticky in a way that we need to be,” Whitaker tells Carr. “We are big fans of what he does and what he stands for, which is global and smart, but he goes beyond politics and war coverage. We need to be broader than that and we are looking hard to make that happen. Tony was the first person that came to mind.”

By the way, not long before Carr interviewed Bourdain, we talked with Carr. Look for the mediabistroTV series “My First Big Break” featuring David Carr coming up Thursday.

(Photo: Travel Channel)

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