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National Geographic Responds to Criticism That its New Gordon Ramsay Show Is a Bad Anthony Bourdain Ripoff

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted will appear on the network next year.

By Marianne Garvey
Top Chef Season 15 Contestants Remember Anthony Bourdain

Although it's just been announced, Gordon Ramsay's forthcoming National Geographic television series Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted has already faced significant backlash from critics who claim it's just a cheap Anthony Bourdain knockoff, without the heart. 

The show will feature Ramsay on a series of adventures around the world, including tarantula hunting in Cambodia. “My passion for adventure has made me not only a better chef but also a fearless apprentice of all cultures, which makes it so exciting for me to work with National Geographic, who’ve been taking exploration to the limit for their entire storied history," Ramsay said in a statement describing the upcoming show.

The feedback was swift across the Internet, from amateur critics to professionals.

And consider that, even before Ramsay's new show was announced, Andrew Zimmern (who fought his own addiction battles, like his friend Bourdain) says he predicted this very thing. After Bourdain's death by suicide on June 8 in France, Zimmern said the late Parts Unknown host was truly one of a kind — but the entertainment industry was bound to try to make a quick buck by knocking off his style anyway.

“I just feel really sad," Zimmern told Us Weekly. "There were very few voices out there speaking out for other cultures, the concept of the ‘other,’ the desire to make the invisible visible, and the underlying meaning of being a citizen on planet Earth. The things that Tony stood for, we’ve lost the loudest voice in our world for that, and there’s only a handful of us who do that kind of thing. It’s a small club. I know it sounds crass and almost craven to start talking about it just a few short weeks after his death. But I know the way these things work, and I know in some room somewhere, there’s people starting to scribble these things on a blackboard and game plan it and market it."

Now, National Geographic is responding to its harsh critics.

The network issued a statement, cited by Eater, following the negative reviews of the show, saying its anouncement about the series was "taken out of context," opinions on the program are "premature," and that its host has the right bona fides.

"We are disappointed that the announcement of our upcoming series with Gordon Ramsay was taken out of context. With National Geographic’s storied history of exploration, our plan with this series is to celebrate and learn about local cultures around the world. In partnering with Ramsay — a well-known adventure enthusiast — we are going to fully immerse viewers and give them a glimpse into surprising and unexpected cultures and local flavors. We have not gone into production on the series yet, so this perspective is premature. We’re looking forward to working with Ramsay, who’s been making food and travel documentaries for well over a decade, to share the series when it premieres sometime next year.”

Production is scheduled to begin this fall. According to the official announcement, Uncharted will air in 43 languages in 171 different countries.

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