The official go-ahead came yesterday to Anthony Bourdain and his production company, Zero Point Zero, to develop their second original series for the Travel Channel. After years of producing the Emmy-winning “No Reservations,” Bourdain and his fellow creators decided to apply their own style to an old travel TV concept – the quick city visit.
“You can say that we are deliberately tackling a tired and well worn format for the sheer challenge of seeing if we can make it interesting and possibly even useful,” Bourdain writes on his blog almost four weeks prior to the announcement. He goes on to explain the show was conceived over drinks with the crew, “Hey, let’s make Samantha Brown’s show! Only….different…and good!”
Packaged, glitzy travel programs give me the willies – one of the many reason why I enjoy Bourdain’s approach. “No Reservations” isn’t solely a billboard for sponsorships and product placement (ahem, except for blatant use of his Chase Sapphire card), but it does often feature experiences only possible with enviable connections and a savvy fixer.
I hope he’s successful at merging old television practice with a new angle to revive that dead horse. The Travel Channel needs more interesting, original programming, and if “The Layover” can achieve this while highlighting accessible activities across Europe, Asia and the U.S., we all win.