The TV Academy showered Anthony Bourdain with posthumous Emmys this evening, including Best Nonfiction Writing and Best Informational Series or Special, for CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
By the time the dust settled, Bourdain’s program had bagged six Emmys – the most for one year in the series history.
Producer Lydia Tenaglia noted it was Bourdain’s first best-writing statuette.
“Tony was nominated for this Emmy many times, but it had always eluded him. So it is with tremendous bittersweetness that I accept it on his behalf,” she said pointedly, accepting Bourdain’s writing win.
Describing Bourdain’s writing as “always fiercely intelligent, very real, no bullshit” she nonetheless said he would have thanked his longtime lit agent, CNN execs, etc.
“Actually, he wouldn’t have done that at all,” she continued, giving attendees whiplash and something to think about.
“But he’s really off on a journey to Parts Unknown,” she said, adding that his crew wishes they “were there to shoot it with him” adding that Bourdain “really would have written the hell out of that episode.”
Taking the show’s Emmy for Best Informational Series or Special, executive producer Christopher Collins noted Bourdain once described travel as not always pretty, and sometimes heartbreaking, and wondered “Is it possible to feel enriched and hollowed out at the same time?”
“Yes, Tony, we feel that now,” Collins said.
Accepting the award for picture editing, editor Hunter Gross thanked Bourdain “for letting me be part of this for the last seven years.”
In addition to Best Informational Series or Special and Best Writing wins, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown also was awarded the Emmy for Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, while the digital spinoff Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown won Best Short Form Nonfiction/Reality Series.
The celebrity chef and CNN series host died in June at age 61, found dead in his hotel room in Strasbourg France, by close friend/French chef Eric Ripert, when he and the production crew were about to start work on that day’s shooting.
CNN confirmed the cause of death was suicide. In a memo to staff, CNN chief Jeff Zucker acknowledged Bourdain “brought something to CNN that no one else had ever brought before,” adding, “Tony will be greatly missed, not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it.”
Awarding him a Peabody in 2013, the judges wrote “People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometown and homeland than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
Former President Obama, who appeared on his program, 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.”
CNN is airing a final season of the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, with one episode already complete and four others finished by the directors who filmed them.
The sole episode completed before Bourdain’s death features a trip to Kenya with United Shades of America host W. Kamau Bell. That episode is the last to have Bourdain’s written narration.