Anthony Bourdain’s television show, Parts Unknown, has been an inspiration to viewers for years, encouraging them to travel, to eat, and most importantly, to get to know different people from different cultures better. His previous shows — A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, and The Layover — all had similar hallmarks and were equally beloved by fans. But Parts Unknown was still on the air when Bourdain died by suicide earlier this month, according to CNN, which means that the fate of the show he poured so much of himself into is a huge question mark. Will they keep producing the show without him, and if so, when is Season 12 of Parts Unknown?
At the time of his death, Bourdain was in Strasbourg, France with chef and friend Eric Ripert filming an episode for Season 12, as per CNN. The season finale for Season 11, which takes place in Bhutan, will air on Sunday, June 24, according to Eater. Last week,The Wrap reported that CNN doesn't have any plans for the Season 12 episodes or footage yet. The network also hasn't made an announcement about what it plans on doing with the series going forward.
The show was popular enough that a CNN insider told The Wrap that the network might consider bringing another host onto the show. The insider said, "They need to helm it with somebody else. There’s a lot of opportunity there not to give up on that mission of bringing American audiences people and food and customs with which they’re not familiar with and that mission is important." They added, "People need this show.” But will viewers watch Parts Unknown without Bourdain? His television shows were synonymous with the man himself.
Bourdain’s death triggered an outpouring of grief from friends, but also from fans who felt like they knew the man in front of the camera. Even celebs felt that way. Mia Farrow, for example, tweeted, "Maybe we all wanted to hang out with him. He was that cool, fun, frank, insightful. He introduced us to distant lands and to people with different traditions. And without ever preaching, he reminded us that we humans are far more alike than different." Those that actually knew him shared tributes to the television personality, too. Jeff Zucker, CNN network president, said in a statement, “Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it.”
Ripert, who reportedly was the one who found Bourdain's body in France, according to The New York Times, also tweeted shortly after Bourdain’s death. He wrote, "Anthony was my best friend. An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous. One of the great storytellers who connected w so many. I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love and prayers are also w his family, friends and loved ones."
Even former President Barack Obama tweeted a message about Bourdain, the two having met while filming an episode of Parts Unknown in Hanoi, Vietnam. "’Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.’ This is how I'll remember Tony," Obama tweeted. "He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We'll miss him."
Although the future of Parts Unknown remains uncertain, there are other seasons of the show available on streaming services. Netflix, which had plans to take Parts Unknown off of their site prior to his death, tweeted a statement saying that it would leave the show on the streaming service "for months to come." Episodes are also available through the CNN app on Roku and Apple TV, and are also available for purchase on Amazon and YouTube, among other streaming services, according to Esquire.
If CNN does choose to continue the show with another host, it's safe to say it will never be the same. Bourdain’s curiosity, kindness, and quick wit was just as much of a draw as the places he visited and the food he ate. Luckily, that legacy is preserved in previous seasons of Parts Unknown, no matter its future.