CNN hires Anthony Bourdain for new food show

Anthony Bourdain attends the "Treme" New York premiere after party on April 21, 2011, in New York. Getty

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - CNN has hired a chef, but it's not looking for someone to feed its newsgathering staff.

The network has engaged celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain to host a travel/cooking show that will look at cultures around the world through the prism of food.

The weekend show, which will begin next year, is a departure for CNN in both content and procedure. CNN usually does its programming in-house, but in this case an outside production company tied to Bourdain will make the series.

"We have license to love a wide variety of news, not just war and politics, but other things that reflect all aspects of our lives,"' said Mark Whitaker, CNN executive vice president and managing editor, of the new show.

CNN also wants to do more to distinguish its weekend programming from its weekday offerings, Whitaker said. The network is looking at other things, he said, but he would not discuss them on Tuesday.

Bourdain, 55, has done programs on both the Travel Channel and Food Network, and also appeared as a judge on the Bravo competition "Top Chef." He is best known as host of Travel Channel's "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations." The foul-mouthed chef is partial to exotic ethnic dishes and put-downs of fellow celebrity chefs.

Bourdain's CNN program will be made by Zero Point Zero Productions.

The food show should not be considered a model for CNN programming during the week, Whitaker said. The domestic news network has suffered two of its worst ratings weeks over the past 20 years during the past month.

Whitaker said CNN continues to look at programming choices for weekdays but had no changes to announce.