Bobby Flay is Cooking Up Some News Programming for CNN

Bobby Flay wants to offer a tweak on a familiar journalism recipe.

Each week, CNN’s Sunday series, “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper,” takes viewers on a one-hour deep dive into a single story or topic, led by a different CNN journalist. On Sunday, August 13, the central correspondent will be Flay, the celebrity chef, who has worked with CNN’s longform staff to examine how the restaurant industry has been changed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic altered the restaurant industry forever, ushering technological advances that have changed our habits and how we dine out,” said Flay, in a statement. “This is a seismic shift that deserves the attention that only CNN can bring to it. It is an honor to join ‘The Whole Story,’ which has produced some of the most compelling reporting on television, and I am very honored to share this important story.”

Flay, who owned a restaurant that was forced to close by the pandemic, is passionate about the subject of the next “Whole Story,” according to a person familiar with the program, and traveled extensively to conduct the interviews that make up a significant part of the piece. “Restaurant Nation: What’s Changed” features interviews with Chef Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix and Los Angeles; Chef Esther Choi of MokBar in New York City; Chef Cat MacDowell of Downtown Louisville, KY; Chef Bonnie Morales, who owns Kachka in Portland, OR with her husband Israel Morales; and Jason Johnson who runs getREEF, a virtual food hall at the Raleigh/Durham airport in North Carolina.

Under the aegis of parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, many of the networks that were previously associated with the entertainment-focused WarnerMedia are incorporating more of the celebrity chefs home-arts gurus and other familiar figures tied to such former Discovery outlets as Food Network and HGTV. Turner Classic Movies, for example, recently featured an appearance by Paula Zahn, who enjoys a major presence on the true-crime network ID. The journalist, who once worked for CNN, took part in a discussion about film noir. Audiences watching NBA basketball games have been pushed to sample series such as Food Network’s “Tournament of Champions,” HGTV’s “Rock The Block” and Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch.”

The CNN report led by Flay will examine new models that have arisen at restaurants due to the pandemic, looking at how offerings have spread beyond just food and drink as well asthe rise of ghost kitchens and employee equity plans. He also rides along with a DoorDash employee to see how the food-delivery company has grappled with a surge in demand and the need to evolve.

“The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper” is executive produced by Susan Chun.  

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