Hoping to capitalize on viewers' endless appetite for food shows, Gourmet magazine and WGBH, the PBS affiliate in Boston, are launching a new series -- "Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth" -- on Oct. 17.
TV foodies are invited to travel the globe alongside a tony host -- Gourmet Editor in Chief Ruth Reichl, who, accompanied by various celebrity guests, will tour exotic cooking schools and sample local fare.
American Airlines is the exclusive corporate sponsor for the show's 10 half-hour episodes. As part of a $2 million-plus buy, the airline gets visibility in branding spots, the show's Web site and ad pages in Gourmet.
Rick Wilbins, managing director, brand and advertising for American Airlines, calls the alliance an "excellent fit... for our premium customers, food and travel are part of the adventure associated with experiencing other cultures."
This isn't the first time WGBH and Gourmet have cooked up televised fare. Their initial effort, "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie," premiered in 2006 and recently concluded its third season. Reichl is "Foodie" executive producer and on-air talent. She became Gourmet's top editor in 1999, after being the restaurant critic for The New York Times.
Nancy Berger Cardone, vice president and publisher of Gourmet, said the partnership showcased "what we do best ... execute a multichannel integrated-marketing program in order to reach our audience, support innovative content and ensure success for our corporate sponsor."
For its debut season, the show will travel abroad to Mexico, Italy, England, Morocco, Brazil, Laos and China. However, the premiere episode is set in Tennessee. There, Reichl and actress Frances McDormand visit Blackberry Farm, a culinary resort that favors farm-to-fork eating. Future celebrities include Dianne Wiest, Lorraine Bracco and Tom Skerritt.
"Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth" is a production of WGBH, Zero Point Zero Productions and Gourmet, in association with National Geographic Channel.