Before Anthony Bourdain took his own life in June of this year, he had devoted his time to what he’d long been doing: exploring the world to film his CNN show Parts Unknown. With his death, the beloved and award-winning series will come to an end, but according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, CNN will air seven episodes comprising the final season.
Just one of the episodes—where he travels through Kenya with United Shades of America host W. Kamau Bell—had been fully completed before Bourdain died, including his trademark narration. The remaining four—set in Texas, Indonesia, the Asturias region of Spain, and Manhattan’s Lower East Side—will be finished by Bourdain’s production company, Zero Point Zero. With no narration available, the team will rely on audio from Bourdain they gathered along the way, then also go back to film further interviews with people who appeared in order to tie the show together.
After the five on-location episodes air, the final two will step away from the show’s travelogue format. CNN executive Amy Entelis told the LA Times that the next-to-last show will feature the crew sharing a glimpse behind the scenes to reveal how the series was made. And the final episode will discuss the chef-turned-TV-star’s effect on his fans, friends, and the world.
CNN launched Parts Unknown back in 2013, after luring Bourdain away from the Travel Channel, where he hosted the show No Reservations. The network gave him far more latitude in subject matter, moving it beyond just a food show. Instead, it transformed into an exploration of culture and even human nature. CNN says it will not try to reboot the show with a new host, despite the fact the series commanded the highest ad rate of any of the network’s programs. And though the company has to keep going on with its business, it appears they—like many of his fans—are still trying to wrap their minds around Bourdain’s death.
“We sometimes feel like it didn’t really happen,” Amy Entelis an executive at CNN told the LA Times. “Sometimes a thought runs through your head thinking that maybe it’s a dream.”