Barack ObamaLatest News and Opinion
Posted Monday 6/11/18 at 8:19AM EDT
Could CNN keep Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown going with a new host?
An unnamed CNN insider tells The Wrap that that there's a possibility Bourdain's show may not end with his death. “They need to helm it with somebody else,” the CNN insider tells The Wrap. “There’s a lot of opportunity there not to give up on that mission of bringing American audiences people and food and customs with which they’re not familiar with and that mission is important. People need this show.” Parts Unknown usually airs 16 episodes a year, or two seasons a year each comprising of eight episodes.
- A prosecutor in France said there was no sign of foul play
- Patton Oswalt shared Bourdain's brutally honest email from January about eating in Paris for his honeymoon
- Here are the restaurants around the world that Bourdain turned into destinations for foodies
- Owner of Hanoi noodle place where Parts Unknown filmed with President Obama reacts to Bourdain's death
- Obama's tweet honoring Bourdain surpasses 1 million "likes"
Posted Friday 6/08/18 at 2:52PM EDT
Anthony Bourdain offered a refreshing alternative to the way TV showed Americans abroad
"This may sound like a grandiose claim for a guy best known for stuffing his face and making wisecracks, but Bourdain presented a model of how Americans could act in the world: open-minded, always curious, and unafraid to sometimes look ridiculous," says Joshua Keating, in tribute to the late Parts Unknown star, who died today from an apparent suicide. "His persona was a refreshing alternative to the familiar archetypes of Americans abroad—flak-jacketed war correspondent, selfless aid worker, pampered tourist, blissed-out enlightenment-seeking backpacker. Bourdain showed how you could be radically open to new experiences while still being basically yourself. While profoundly aware, particularly on his CNN show, of past U.S. misdeeds and how his country is perceived in the world, he was undeniably American too. Bourdain could serve up food porn with the best of them, but also deserves credit for smuggling in-depth features on countries that rarely rate for TV-news coverage, like Congo, Myanmar, and Ethiopia, onto prime-time television."
- CNN plans multiple tribute specials this weekend, starting with tonight's Remembering Anthony Bourdain at 10 p.m.
- Bourdain rewrote the rules of food and travel shows: "Anthony Bourdain made it clear throughout his published and televised career that he was a learner and a listener rather than an educator, that that to be open to new experiences and new people was the key," says Chris Fuhrmeister, adding: "Bourdain wanted to know the world, and thanks to his voice and the hundreds of hours of television he made, he convinced a legion of fans that they wanted to know the world, too. Through Bourdain’s on-air travels, his viewers came to know people and cultures they otherwise may have never met."
- "I mean, honestly, WHAT A GODDAMN LIFE, MAN!" says Drew Magary, who admits to wanting Bourdain's life. "He lived a scant 61 years, but my god, were those years densely packed. Watching him trot around the globe week to week engendered only the warmest of envies. And, in death, Bourdain takes with him a collection of memories and experiences so immeasurable, and so vast, that they dwarf any book or TV episode he leaves behind. It is that life, more than his work, that millions of people (myself included) seek to emulate: a life that is hungry, thirsty, curious, honest, compassionate, rowdy, horny, all of it."
- Bourdain told the truth and became perhaps the best-known celebrity in America: "Bourdain’s fame wasn’t the distant, lacquered type of an actor or a musician, bundled and sold with a life-style newsletter," says Helen Rosner. "Bourdain felt like your brother, your rad uncle, your impossibly cool dad—your realest, smartest friend, who wandered outside after beers at the local one night and ended up in front of some TV cameras and decided to stay there."
- Bourdain stood up for women without making it about him: "'Right now, nothing else matters but women’s stories,' he wrote in a gut-punch of a Medium essay in December," says Megan Greenwell. "That such a seemingly obvious line from a male celebrity feels so extraordinary is dismaying; that Bourdain was willing to scream it just as loudly as he once told sous chefs to suck his dick gives me hope."
- Bourdain's show increasingly became less about him: "Over the years, Bourdain’s approach to his shows became less about what he was going to eat and more about who he was going to meet," says Caroline Framke. "He made a concerted effort to resist the idea that his breadth of experience made him an expert in any given cuisine
- Bourdain's appreciation of Waffle House tells you all you need to know: "It would be easy to say that Anthony Bourdain 'got' places, but I hate that term," says Spencer Hall. "I kind of hate the term 'understood,' too, because the word implies a kind of authority. 'Understood' can make experience a mandatory training webinar to be completed, with certificates, stages, merit badges, and flair earned along the way. To the observer who gets and understands and frames places, there is only acquisition, and process, and then a new target. That’s not what Bourdain’s work felt like."
- Bourdain was the rare celebrity who appealed to the common man: "#AnthonyBourdain was everything I hoped he'd be in real life: smart AF but humble, kind and even goofy. And a man with a huge heart," tweets Gustavo Arellano, who appeared with Bourdain on Parts Unknown's 2017 Los Angeles episode. He adds that Bourdain "spoke against pretentious idiots, against exploitation and harassment. But for me, his greatest achievement was his full-throttled defense of the food industry's most exploited class: Latinos."
- New Yorker writer Patrick Radden Keefe recalled his 2017 profile of Bourdain: "Looking back over my notebooks this morning, I recognized dark threads running through our conversations. Bourdain freely acknowledged that part of the reason he continued to work at such a frantic pace might have been a fear about where his mind might go if he ever sat still. Any facile notion I might have entertained about writing a light-hearted portrait of a man with a dream job was, upon meeting Tony, quickly overtaken by a sense that he wasn’t content—that, in all that globe-trotting, he was chasing something that would forever elude him."
- His decepitively optimistic outlook will be missed the most: "Bourdain may have had a snarl," says Linda Holmes, "a cutting tongue and closets full of demons he was often fairly open about. But he treated the world as if he had not given up on it. He treated it as if, at any moment, it might open itself wider, reveal a crack into which he hadn't ever slipped, with pen and paper, with a flashlight and a fork. And he might be able to help other people understand what was inside."
- Bourdain was an inspiration to many: "For those who struggled with addiction like himself, he showed that you could burst forth from that suffocating cocoon and lead a life of wonderment and adventure, traveling across the world, indulging in its myriad pleasures," says Marlow Stern. "For those who felt walled off from the rest, he presented a glorious escape."
- Bourdain was deeply moral and deeply compassionate: "His character sketches of his fellow cooks showed a humility and curiosity about the lives of others that made his television series stand far, far above anyone else’s. He had been through fire, literal and spiritual," says Corby Kummer. "That left him alive to not just the pain of the cooks who had practiced their trade until they were good enough to attract his attention. It also left him alive to joy: the joy of a burrito or spring roll or soup dumpling or churrascaria or squid skewer. Of living in a new landscape, spectacularly beautiful or spectacularly simple."
- Barack Obama's Bourdain tribute to their Parts Unknown Hanoi noodles-and-beer meal captures exactly why he was beloved
- Asia Argento, Bourdain's girlfriend, says: "His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds"
- Bourdain took responsibility for toxic masculinity and called out his friends
- Why Bourdain was a #MeToo champion: "In these current circumstances, one must pick a side," Bourdain wrote in Medium in December. "I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women."
- Bourdain discussed his depression on a 2016 Parts Unknown episode in Argentina: "I find myself in a spiral of depression that can last for days"
- Food Network's Sandra Lee, whom Bourdain mocked, paid tribute to him as "a really gifted, smart, articulate man and his humor will be missed"
- Somebody Feed Phil's Phil Rosenthal said Bourdain "invetned an entire genre"
- A reminder: Parts Unknown Seasons 1 through 8 are leaving Netflix on June 16
- Bourdain's book imprint will be discontinued
- New Yorker editor David Remnick recalled the Bourdain's 1999 essay that propelled him to fame
- Remembering Bourdain's tremendous literary talent
- Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential tops Amazon's best-seller list
- Bourdain had been working on a "more personal" new book
- Newsweek under fire for trying to capitalize on Bourdain's death with a flood of "clickbait" articles
- Val Kilmer criticized for calling Bourdain's apparent suicide "so selfish"
- Here are the most memorable moments from Bourdain's shows
- Bourdain reportedly gave everything to his work: "His travel schedule was grueling and he often seemed quite beat-up from it, as anyone would be," a source tells People. "He’d put everything into the shoots and then go back to his room to isolate."
- Travel Channel announces a 12-hour Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations marathon for Sunday
- Check out Bourdain's life in photos
# TOPICS: Anthony Bourdain, CNN, Food Network, A Cook's Tour, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Travel Channel, Asia Argento, Barack Obama, Phil Rosenthal, Sandra Lee, Sexual Misconduct
Posted Thursday 6/07/18 at 2:05PM EDT
Chris Rock wants the Obamas to "make your money," but not on Netflix
"I don't want to live in a world where President Obama is worried about his Rotten Tomatoes score," Rock tells The Hollywood Reporter when asked about his reaction to Barack and Michelle Obama's deal to produce shows for the streaming service. Rock, who has his own $40 million deal with Netflix, adds: "I want him above that at all times. Make your money, but I don't want (him) to be involved with that." When asked if he had any advice for the Obamas, Rock said he'd send them to Donald Glover.
Posted Tuesday 5/29/18 at 6:28PM EDT
Netflix boss: Our Obama deal doesn't mean we're becoming "the Obama Network"
"It's not The Obama Network, it's not the MSNBC shift," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, a Democrat, said at the Paley Center for Media in New York. "There's no political slate to the programming." Sarandos did acknowledge that "it's hard to argue there's not a left lean to the creative community." But he says he pursued the Obamas because "I didn't want to see that deal go anywhere else, because I think they're going to be great at it."
Posted Tuesday 5/22/18 at 10:30PM EDT
For the Obamas, the main advantage of Netflix is protection from ratings scrutiny
"Obama Nostalgia" is a logical extension for Netflix in its goal to create content for everybody, says Alyssa Rosenberg. As such, Netflix provides an ideal home for Barack and Michelle Obama. As Rosenberg explains, "by teaming up with a broadcast television network, or even a glossy cable channel such as HBO, the Obamas would have become subject to the harsh glare of the Nielsen ratings system. It can’t be fun for a network executive to contemplate canceling content by a former president. But continuing to air programming by the Obamas that failed to find an audience might raise questions about whether a network was staying in business with them for political reasons. The worst thing that could happen to the Obamas as they move toward becoming a media brand is a deal like Megyn Kelly’s move to NBC: a high-profile and expensive announcement that undercuts the star power of the person who was supposed to be a big get."
Posted Tuesday 5/22/18 at 5:47PM EDT
Some conservatives call for a Netflix boycott over deal with Obamas
The announcement of a production deal with Barack and Michelle Obama has sparked the #BoycottNetflix hashtag on Twitter.
Posted Monday 5/21/18 at 1:08PM EDT
The Obamas ink deal to produce TV shows and movies for Netflix
Barack and Michelle Obama have officially signed on for a multiyear Netflix production deal. It was first reported on March 8 that the former president and first lady were in advanced talks to "produce a series of high-profile shows that will provide (them) a global platform." On Monday, Netflix announced that the Obamas will work on potential scripted and unscripted series, including documentary series. According to an article in The New York Times, "the former president has told associates that he does not intend to use the new platform to wage a public campaign against his successor in the Oval Office, or to fight against conservative media outlets like Fox News." In a statement, President Obama said: "One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience. That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.” Michelle Obama added: “Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others. Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”
Posted Thursday 4/19/18 at 6:51PM EDT
Scandal helped define the Obama era, but may have also predicted the rise of Trump
Scandal outlived its own era, the Obama era, and was effectively made irrelevant by Trump's victory, says Daniel D'Addario. "Along with Mad Men and Girls, Scandal will be on the very short list of series that defined the Obama years, both for its willingness to engage deep conversations on issues of race and its escapist vision of a world in which scandal was still fun," he says. On Scandal, Kerry Washington's "Olivia Pope was not incidentally black but specifically black," he says. "Her affair with a white President whom she also served was written, more and more as the show was emboldened by success, to explicitly reference Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. It was a pairing that was touched by the dynamics of power, and a white man in Scandal’s universe, as ours, has more of it than a black woman." He adds: "Scandal’s unique status as a broadcast-TV drama with a black female protagonist, and the way it made that protagonist a complicated woman who had real conversations about what race meant to her, was well-suited to a time in which the President was, for the first time, able to have similar conversations with the nation. The show came along at the right moment, extending a discussion that was at last happening on America’s most visible stages." But Scandal exits tonight amid a Trump administration that is mired in real-life scandal. "The thing is, there are no real scandals on Scandal; the word implies a public reaction of disgust and disapprobation," says D'Addario. "Scandal spends almost no time with the public, and the resolution of each case—from an untidy murder to an election swinging to the candidate the voters didn’t choose—is, as far as we the viewers can tell, acquiescence. Because everything is breaking all the time, nothing sinks in. In Scandal’s universe, the unending stream of news that might once have seemed unbelievable has become background noise. Scandal got, on some level, that occasional dramas are lots of fun but a news cycle that’s only dramas becomes endurable only by tuning out. It was a show whose time passed, in part because it saw too clearly what it’d be like to live through our own."
- Shonda Rhimes still wonders why Scandal only received a seven-episode Season 1 order: "To me it spoke to a lack of faith in the idea that a black woman could be the lead of a television show. And I found that to be insulting"
- Scandal was "a little miracle of genre fusion, somehow managing to be several seemingly incompatible shows at the same time"
- Rhimes on Olivia Pope's legacy: "Now it feels very normal and obvious that female characters can be antiheroes, and it feels normal and obvious that women of color can lead shows"
- Inside the Scandal writers' room: Shonda Rhimes & Co. recall ABC initially asking that Olivia not sleep with the president
- Scandal was a social-media game-changer, inspiring Twitter to launch boot camps for other TV shows
- Scandal brought Black Twitter to life every Thursday
- Executive producer Betsy Beers realized Scandal was a massive hit after Fitz was shot
- Before Olivia Pope, it was rare to see a black woman portrayed as such a potent symbol of desire in television and film
- Rhimes turned what should've been a limited series into TV immortality by blowing up the plot almost every week
- Kerry Washington on leaving Scandal: “I am not in complete denial, but I don’t think the processing will be complete for a while"
- Rhimes' original Scandal ending was upended by the 2016 election
- "I've always said I'm more Team Olivia than every other team," says Rhimes
- Scandal's success was proof of the power of female viewers, especially black women
- Does Olivia’s white hat still have any meaning at this point?
- The Season 2 episode “Spies Like Us" is where scandal went off the rails, forever altering its DNA
- Here are the 23 greatest Scandal monologues
- The Season 3 finale “The Price of Free and Fair Elections" illustrated Scandal's early promise and its worst impulses
- Scandal cast and crew discuss their favorite scenes
- Scandal was always about Olivia and Mellie finding each other
- Katie Lowes and Guillermo Diaz agree "The Lawn Chair" is the most important episode in establishing Scandal's legacy
- Ranking the Scandal characters by how shady they are
- The Music of Scandal: Shonda Rhimes made it a point to highlight black music icons
- How costume designer Lyn Paolo's own Prada bag ended up becoming an iconic part of Scandal
- Olivia Pope's best speeches, ranked
- Scandal finale to feature a brand-new song by an R&B legend
- What's next for the Scandal stars?
Posted Thursday 4/05/18 at 12:48AM EDT
Legends of Tomorrow boss on Young Obama storyline: "This is totallygratuitous, us sending a little ‘love letter’ to the ex-president"
Showrunner Phil Klemmer says of Tuesday's episode, in which a giant evil gorilla tried to kill a young Barack Obama: “There’s a certain point where you realize, ‘This scene doesn’t need to be in the show. This is totally gratuitous, us sending a little ‘love letter’ to the ex-president.' But when I rewatched the episode (Tuesday) night, I was like, ‘Thank God we did keep in that totally superfluous love letter to the ex-president. And thank God we found a performer in Vancouver (Lovell Adams-Gray) who played such a convincing Young Barack Obama!”
Posted Thursday 3/22/18 at 1:53PM EDT
Keri Russell: FX would give President Obama advanced copies of The Americans
Russell, visiting The Late Show with Matthew Rhys, says the former president was such a big fan that he invited them to the White House state dinner honoring the prime minister of Singapore.
Posted Wednesday 3/21/18 at 1:47PM EDT
Conan imagines President Obama doing a standup special for Netflix
Check out the trailer for Barack Obama: The Greatest President of All Time.
Posted Tuesday 3/13/18 at 10:17PM EDT
Dear Barack and Michelle Obama: Don't be surprised if your big names get lost in Netflix's "very, very big pond"
The Obamas are likely to run into the "Netflix conundrum" should they join the streaming service with their own programming. Netflix is "a very, very big pond" for "really famous and cool content creators," says Tim Goodman. Sure, Barack and Michelle Obama will garner a lot of attention for their shows. But their spotlight will be limited considering all the other shows with big names attached that Netflix has to promote. "If the Obamas do sign that deal with Netflix and join the family, they will certainly get more than, say, the middle-tier producers get," says Goodman. "Namely — coordinated press coverage and probably a glitzy premiere party in either New York, D.C. or Los Angeles. There will be billboards, maybe, and as much on-platform buzz as an algorithm can generate. But when the show appears — whatever show that may be — the Obamas will find out what tons of famous TV creators found out when their shows premiered: Once the episodes drop, that's pretty much it for the hand-holding and attention. Once the shows are out, dropping into the world's deepest bucket of content, said shows are either going to be discovered (in due time, like a good book on a library shelf) or ignored (like a good book on a library shelf)."
Posted Friday 3/09/18 at 11:05PM EST
Dear Netflix: Here are seven proposed Obama family shows
With the former President reportedly close to signing a production deal with Netflix, Vulture's Hunter Harris asks: How about Girl Talk With Michelle and Miss Tina, Beats With Barack and Malia Bird?
Posted Thursday 3/08/18 at 9:15PM EST
Former President Obama is in advanced talks to produce and appear in TV shows for Netflix
The New York Times reports that the proposed deal, which is not yet finalized, would have Barack and Michelle Obama creating exclusive content for the streaming service that would be available to Netflix's 118 million subscribers. "Mr. Obama does not intend to use his Netflix shows to directly respond to President Trump or conservative critics, according to people familiar with discussions about the programming," reports The Times. "They said the Obamas had talked about producing shows that highlight inspirational stories. But the Netflix deal, while not a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com, would give Mr. Obama an unfiltered method of communication with the public similar to the audiences he already reaches through social media, with 101 million Twitter followers and 55 million people who have liked his Facebook page." Potential shows include the former president moderating discussions, the former first lady championing topics like nutrition and the ability to lend their name and brand to projects such as documentaries. The Times reports that Apple and Amazon also expressed interest in signing the Obamas, but the former president is particularly close to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, whose wife served as his ambassador to the Bahamas. It was on Netflix that Obama submitted to his first televised interview since leaving office, on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.
Posted Thursday 2/08/18 at 6:30PM EST
Ex-Obama staffers’ are bringing their Pod Save America podcast to HBO
Former Obama administration officials Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor will adapt their popular left-leaning podcast into a series of hour-long specials focused on the midterm elections this fall. The news follows this week's premiere of another HBO project based on a podcast, 2 Dope Queens.