Anthony Bourdain's popular "No Reservations" travel/food show has been a favorite of mine since it began. Year after year, Bourdain took viewers to uncharted territory to experience foreign cuisines and cultures in a cool, laid back fashion.
Consequently, it's disappointing to see things turn ugly between Bourdain and The Travel Channel. Bad blood between the two parties started after Bourdain announced last May that he would be ending his run with the network to start a new show on CNN. Travel Channel responded by cutting short production on his eighth season, repackaging the remaining seven episodes while cutting together three new episodes from old footage and collectively releasing them as a ninth season, dubbed "The Final Tour."
With the series in his rear view, the celebrity chef took to Tumblr today to post a lengthy screed against his former employer, claiming they butchered the final episodes and made it appear as if he was personally endorsing Cadillac automobiles.
He acknowledged that product placement and commercial sales are necessary for the network to profit from the series, but took issue with the way his former employer went about it. "[I]t would be ridiculous to hope or expect that I could ever have control over who buys commercial time in the breaks between segments," Bourdain wrote. "But my name and image are my own."
Bourdain claims he resisted several pushes toward brand integration during the series, even emphasizing his final say in his contract with the network. "So it came as a shock and a disappointment to turn on the TV for the last two episodes of my show, and see that someone had taken footage that me and my creative team had shot for my show, cut it up and edited it together with scenes of a new Cadillac driving through the forest. Scenes of me, my face, and with my voice, were edited in such a way as to suggest that I might be driving that Cadillac. That, at least, I was very likely IN that Cadillac—and that if nothing else, I sure as s--- was endorsing Cadillac as the vehicle of choice for my show," Bourdain continued.
Bourdain went on, labeling the final three episodes of his "ninth season" as forced hatchet jobs. "Best I can tell, [Travel Channel] are, unfortunately, well within their contractual rights to butcher our painstakingly shot and edited footage as they choose," he concedes.
While the network may be within their rights to edit the series as they see please, "The Final Tour" seems more and more like a greedy cash grab. Hopefully this can all fade sooner rather than later and we can look forward to Bourdain's future adventures on CNN.