Most everyone by now knows No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain is leaving the show to host a new weekend food and travel program on CNN.
Bourdain, who hosted No Reservations on the Travel Channel since 2005, explained in a recent tumblr post that he was aware of the pressure from networks to integrate products into the shows, and was careful about resisting the technique on his show.
However, he had agreed to use a credit card on a limited number of episodes to ensure his production company received the budget they we wanted, but confessed his fans were not pleased.
“The backlash was considerable and angry,” says Bourdain. “People felt betrayed. As a result, I became even more careful and even more reluctant to do them.”
Bourdain claims he made sure in his agreement with Travel Channel to include very specific language about this kind of thing, and they agreed to terms where his name or image was never to be used to either endorse, or imply use of a product without his specific agreement.
So it came as a shock and a disappointment to Bourdain when he discovered that in the last two episodes of No Reservations, someone had taken footage he and his team had shot, cut it up and edited it together with scenes of a new Cadillac driving through the forest.
Scenes of Bourdain, his face and voice were edited in such a way as to suggest that he might be driving that Cadillac, and endorsing Cadillac as the vehicle of choice for his show.
“The network made a commercial, with me endorsing a product, and hadn’t even bothered to ask me. After the first airing of the commercial, I let the network know of my extreme displeasure. Fair warning one would think. They ran it again anyway.”
Bourdain claims to have had good working relationship with Travel Channel over the last eight years, but after several different owners, and administrations came and went, the last year things began to deteriorate.
As a result, Bourdain suggests the new guard at theTravel Channel cynically and cheaply reconstituted existing material to create additional content.
He said presenters look exploitative and lazy, and fans feel used and misled, but there is nothing he could do about that.
“I CAN do something when my name and image are used to sell a product without my consent and in violation of prior specific and well crafted legal agreements,” says Bourdain, and he intends to.
“I was—and remain—angry.”