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Oct 12, 2008 07:45 AM

Bourdain as Talk Show Host? (At The Table with Tony Bourdain)

Just caught the tease this weekend. It doesn't look like anything along the lines of Leno or Letterman, more like along the lines of Charlie Rose, perhaps not as austere. The conversation takes place around a dining table rather than in a bare studio.

Bill Buford, "Nightlife Queen of New York" Amy Sacco, TV personality Ted Allen, and gossip columnist Chris Wilson.

My interest is piqued.

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  1. hmmmm... Round table discussions seem to be the new "reality" trend for cable television. There's one on Planet Green. Forget who hosts or what it's called. Watched about three minutes of it a week or so ago. I would probably find Bourdain's show a lot more appealing if it didn't have a set "guest" list. It's hard to get diversity from the same-old same-old week after week. And then there's only one Charlie Rose! But I'll probably watch at least once. Or at least part of a show.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Caroline1

      From what I saw it looks like it's just the one episode, not a series. Wylie Dufresne is doing the cooking, so that should be interesting. Looking forward to it...thanks for the heads up, I would have missed it if I didn't hear about it here!

    2. Sounds a lot like Boulud's show (After Hours). Tony obviously enjoyed his turn on the show at WD-50:

      Anyone notice that Tony's blog link on Travel Channel goes to a Hudson Union site? WTF?

      1. I caught the last half hour, I have the 2 AM repeat TiVoed. Dufrene's dishes looked interesting. I thought the idea was good but the pacing was too rushed. There was no real give and take and expanding on the topics. It seemed AB was in too much of a hurry to ask the nifty questions he came up with to ask people.

        The guests as well as AB did a lot of breaking the invisible barrier by talking directly to the camera about the experience. I can see where this can get old fast, but for the first show it was pretty refreshing.

        I kind of wished for "My Dinner with Andre" or Charlie Rose, instead it was just another talk show, with great food.

        1. Over all, I didn't think that this was anywhere near as good as Boulud's After Hours. It didn't show enough of Wylie in the kitchen or of his food. But the focus here is the conversation, and there were certainly some interesting things said. Ironically, Tony asks the same question he asked on Boulud's show (and elsewhere) - the you're dying tomorrow, what do you eat question. The question of the day for me - is it really important that everybody learns to roast a chicken? (my answer - yes!) The point that today's poor end up eating crappy tenderloin at Red Lobster while the rich eat the pig snouts at the great places was a good one. Of course, they will be delicious to each.

          The guests were pretty much as I pictured. Buford is a real communicator and knows food. The others, not so much - especially that Sacco chick. I think she's really a blond. And Ted Allen with his baby back ribs...

          In Tony's blog on this show he says that there may be another 2 or 3 more, although he's off to the PI to eat Balut. I'll definitely watch.

          His blog: http://anthony-bourdain-blog.travelch...

          5 Replies
          1. re: applehome

            I was at the Gourmet Institute this weekend in NYC and caught Bourdains seminar. He said that this was a one time deal, just the one episode. He said that he is trying to stay closer to home these days to be with the family. When pushed, he did say that he wouldn't write off the possibility of doing more of these in the future if there was enough interest.

            1. re: applehome

              i "watched" this-- fine, it was on while i was doing other things, so mostly i sort of listened to it like i 'd listen to npr while doing other tasks. . . it was fun to watch everybody get loaded over the course of the show. . . esp buford's flushed dome and widening range of gesticulation. seemed like they put sacco there to say "i don't care" in response to everything everyone else said. she said she'd prefer kfc over popeye's for her last meal on earth-- she's obviously an idiot. agree that t.a. could away from the bbq references already, and i'm a pretty big fan of bbq. felt bad for the service staff, trying to ignore the dumbest moments of the conversation (okay, that's just part of the job) and at times just standing there waiting for an break in the wall of verbiage to introduce the courses. i would have liked to have tasted most of the courses, but the one that was dessicated fried pellets of corn, i'll bet it tasted just like glorified kix cereal, and i notice that any comments on that course, if there were any, were edited out. the show was not remotely an interesting conversation about food for me-- i'd have weeded out at least 2 participants who contributed so very little and replaced them with people who actually knew what they were talking about, but i have more interesting food conversations every day with the dishwasher and the guy who brings the chickens in, so i won't be tuning into this show again, if indeed it is a regular show.

              1. re: applehome

                I was thinking about After Hours the whole time I watched this show. Boulud's show is more natural feeling and Tony's is more forced. I hope he dosen't stick with this format. And when are their going to be new After Hours episodes?

                1. re: garethblackstock

                  Something's happening with the network that produces After Hours with Daniel, MOJO HD (which took over InHD). I'm not sure quite what the issues are, but the cable companies are pulling the channel and offering select programs only on VOD. So I don't know what will happen to After Hours. You can see all the previous 3 seasons on Hulu.

                  Tony should get some slick production company like these guys to do his show. He's a knowledgeable and erudite person - if you've ever heard his speeches and read his books, you know that he has things to say. That doesn't necessarily make a good host on a talk show, but it seems to me that he just needs help with the format. He's not going to keep traveling all around the world forever - especially not with a 2 year old daughter - he needs a good steady gig in town.

                  He really gets down on himself for this show on his blog. The comments are 50/50, half telling him that he sucks at it, never do it again, just keep traveling, the other half telling to try again with some tweaking. I'm in the latter camp.

                  1. re: applehome

                    I just saw the TiVo again. I agree with a lot of the others who said that he was incredibly ill at ease, the worst thing that he did was to follow a plan. It seemed so forced, that he had to get a certain question in during a given course, that he felt compelled to say certain things at a certain time. i thought the guests did not help him one bit, except maybe for Bruford and to a much lesser extent Ted Allen.

                    There was no rhythm to the conversation, no real chemistry amongst the people on the show. Maybe they ought to take the Top Chef lead and get them all schnockered for an hour beofre the show.

                    My main complaint is that I was dying for someone to ask Dufresne, why? Why is he doing it this way or that way, what was he trying to accomplish? That is the biggest question to me. Don't just do molecular gastronomy just because you can, do it for a reason. The producers were trying for an extemporaneous feel to the thing, I think, but failed miserably. Like Applehome, I think Bourdain could pull it off, he just needs torelax and be himself. Maybe they needed a little din and chaos around them to get them going.

              2. I thought he spent too much time on the pre-show segment worrying about whether he should be doing it. Then I felt the "panel" was either very badly edited or not holding up their end of the conversation, but I will also add that I fell asleep out of sheer boredom during the discussion of Bourdain's $1,900.00 restaurant tab for dinner for two. After that, I spent more time wondering whether he personally picked up that tab or if it was written off for the show.

                I also have to admit that I am not as enamored of his TV shows now as I was in the beginning. I get quite irritated with his lack of intellectual curiosity, especially on the two shows I've seen so far that he did about Greece. To date, the show I liked best for it's scope and depth was the show on Japan, though he could have left out his ikebana venture and had an expert do one, or as I said in another thread, that segment would have been a lot more interesting had he tried his hand a sumo.

                I don't think the talk show is up as a series, but I did sleep through the last half of it. But there are lots and lots of TV shows and formats that are cut short today and not given a chance to bloom and flourish. Maybe if it is a series, who knows? He could develop into the Charlie Rose of food. I'm not crazy about every Charlie Rose show he sends down the pike, but the good and great ones are enough to keep him going for a long time (I hope). Maybe the day will come when the same thing can be said for Bourdain. That would be a gain.