‘Raymond’s’ Rosenthal loves food, travel in PBS series

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Raymond’ Creator Phil Rosenthal Comes to PBS in New Culinary Comedy I’LL HAVE WHAT PHIL’S HAVING Tonight.

As the Emmy-winning creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, Phil Rosenthal is a comedy expert. As Woody Allen famously complained, “My mother spent my childhood putting the chicken through the de-flavorizer.” Apparently Phil Rosenthal, creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” can relate.

So even though the idea of watching the TV writer eat his way across the world with famous friends may sound a little wacky at first, you could not ask for a better host. Rosenthal says the show’s genesis was a two-part episode of “Raymond” (the CBS sitcom’s Season 5 premiere) where Ray Barone (series star Ray Romano) and his entire family traveled to Italy to visit a cousin. “It took five years to get the money from CBS to go film in Italy and it was one of our best episodes,” says Rosenthal. “And what happened to Ray the character happened to Ray [Romano] the person — he really was transformed by this act of traveling to another country.

Beginning tonight, September 28 on (check local listings), this new six-part series follows host Rosenthal as he explores culinary capitals of the world and dines on regional specialties, all while pushing the boundaries of his palate – and the viewers’ – in his funny, unforgettable travels. But now Rosenthal is in front of the camera and the star of a new show: “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.” It’s a six-part, unscripted series on PBS that features him sampling local fare in exotic ports around the globe — including Hong Kong, Barcelona, Paris and Tokyo. And I thought, what if I could do this for other people — and I’m the one showing them? “So [‘Raymond’] is over and a year or two goes by and I get a call from Russia.

In his search for the best of a city’s specialty, or one of its most unusual cuisines, Rosenthal entertains the audience while making connections all over the world. ET/PT, check local listings), a travelogue that takes the writer and producer around the world in search of gustatory delights – and a few funny stories along the way. Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (“Journeys With George”) heads back to her hometown and interviews a wide array of people — from politicians to longtime residents to the invading IT newcomers — to see for herself the force of the impact and what it means for the city’s future. In I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, Rosenthal sets his sights on kitchens both on and off the well-worn gastronomic path, where he meets those who are keeping traditions alive and creating new ones. Rosenthal’s usually accompanied by family, famous foodies and friends — Romano and Martin Short among them — with whom he shares his enthusiasm and jokes.

Viewers will travel with him from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Paris to Tokyo, and from a three-star Michelin restaurant in an Italian palazzo to a Los Angeles bakery training former gang members. And, yes, assuming the show is renewed, “I would love to go to Israel,” he tells JTA in a telephone interview. “What I loved most was the people I met, and the food was spectacular.

The New York native also will show viewers the varied offerings of his current home, Los Angeles, where he is joined by such famous friends as Raymond star Ray Romano, Allison Janney, Martin Short, Norman Lear, Paul Reiser and Larry Wilmore. The six-episode series offers a sampling of life’s essentials as defined by Rosenthal, whose love of travel began with his first trip to Europe when he was in his early 20s. “In my few years on this Earth, I’ve boiled it down to food, family, friends, laughs and travel,” he says. “I believe we connect over food. I had the best chicken pita of my life there.” And while gelato and steak were on the menu during his recent sojourns, he also sampled rare delicacies like pond loach, an eel-like fish that live in East Asian rice paddies. We’re giving you six hours on the air.’ Sometimes God smiles on you.” In the series, Rosenthal visits cities including Tokyo, Barcelona, Florence and LA. (In Tokyo, he eats insects and also barbecued eel, complete with heads — “leaving with my teeth and trachea intact,” he says of the crunchy delicacy.) “I’ve got the next 25 episodes lined up and I’m ready beyond that,” he says. “I can keep going. As a result, Rosenthal acknowledges he just might be confused with a Jewish Anthony Bourdain (who, incidentally, has one Jewish parent). “My life is exactly like Anthony Bourdain — if he was afraid of everything,” he says. “But when we watch Bourdain — whom I love, by the way — we’re not going to do what he does.

It’s a big world out there — someone’s gotta eat it!” Rosenthal is also working with his pal David Wild on a new online talk show for Fandango called “Naked Lunch.” “It’s us talking with our friends about things that interest us,” he says. “It’s a simple show, only a few minutes … frankly, it’s something I can film during lunch.” Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner guest-stars on Wednesday’s Season 2 opener of the Nickelodeon series “Bella & The Bulldogs” (8 p.m. with stars Brec Bassinger and Coy Stewart). “I had such a blast,” he says. “It was really fun to see the tables turned, having … Bella as the team’s quarterback. That’s a connection made.” Rosenthal, who shows a bit of a jamón (ham) obsession while visiting Barcelona, isn’t worried about entering the crowded world of food and travel shows. “There were lots of sitcoms before we did Raymond.

And I think the show has an overall positive message that kids, including my own, can relate to” … “The Real” (11 a.m./Ch. 5, 1 a.m./BET) spiked 33 percent in women 25-54, nationally, its opening week vs. the same week last year with hosts Adrienne Bailon, Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Tamera Mowry–Housley and Jeannie Mai … CUNY TV exec (and former “Good Day New York” EP) Gail Yancosek has formed Gail Yancosek Consulting in conjunction with Carol Anne Riddell and Susan Iger … “Rachael Ray” producer Bianca Brunette, NY1 publicist Nikia Redhead and publicist Susan Blond. If a guy like me can try other foods and travel to other lands, then maybe others will be inspired to do it too, even in their own city.” In each hour-long episode, the unscripted series brings Rosenthal to a different location, where he embarks on new adventures, visiting artisans, markets, vineyards, and farmers, trying the special culinary treats and unusual ingredients each community has to offer.

Rosenthal is infectiously enthusiastic about food, and his show reflects the typical travel experience that most people yearn for — a general sense of local flavor, people and culture. Rosenthal also learns tricks of the trade from food authorities like David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris and Nancy Silverton, the 2014 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award. I want them to watch and say, ‘If that putz can go outside …’ Maybe that should be the name of the show.” Rosenthal admits to having a love-hate relationship with food. I’m a little bit adventurous but, mostly, I want to impart to you the joy of traveling (as) real people, not adventurers.” Rosenthal, who directed a documentary, Exporting Raymond, that chronicled the creation of a Russian version of the hit sitcom, says he overcame a flavor-impaired upbringing and now eagerly seeks out new foods and experiences. “I hope with all my heart that if I can motivate you to get off the couch and come and travel, your life will be better.

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. In our house, meat was a punishment.” “Jackie Mason had a fantastic line that after a show, in the street, the gentiles all say, ‘Let’s have a drink.’ The Jews say, ‘Did you eat yet?’” he says. “Food is a huge part of who we are. In fact, the L.A. segment, peppered with personal friends and stars, is the epicurean equivalent to Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.” Rosenthal, a transplant from Queens, took a while to warm up to Los Angeles. As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students.

I am staying right here.’ ” “It all seems to come together” there, he says. “Maybe I was Italian in another life, but it feels like a home away from home. He’s not edgy, political or even all that gourmet — although there are definitely high-end culinary concepts explored, especially in the Tokyo episode.

The fact that we can eat is a symbol of personal freedom and calls for celebration.” Of course, no matter what your religion or ethnicity, good food leads to a kind of bonhomie that fosters conviviality and creativity. PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.

I love every aspect of the business — except the business.” Rosenthal had ample time to test the limits of that love during the nine highly successful seasons of “Raymond.” Still, in the midst of the show’s success, Rosenthal admits he always feared the other shoe was going to drop at any moment. “As I’m experiencing this wonderful success, this wonderful camaraderie, as a Jew I’m thinking, ‘You’ll never have this again.’ But in a way, that’s good to know, so you can appreciate the moment while it’s happening.” It’s not as if Rosenthal has been a recluse since the show ended. At one point, Rosenthal reluctantly tries an Italian street meat sandwich made from a cow’s fourth stomach. (The first three stomachs are no good, he jokes; it’s the fourth you want). PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing CURIOSITY and love of learning in children. He won a Peabody Award (and earned an Emmy nomination) for co-writing “America: A Tribute to Heroes,” a benefit concert and fundraiser for victims of the 9/11 attacks that was broadcast simultaneously on 35 TV channels.

More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. There was a short-lived Israeli version of “Raymond” called “Mishpacha lo Bocharim.” He also traveled to Russia to help produce a local version of “Raymond” that was eventually called “The Voronins.” That became the subject of a hilarious documentary, “Exporting Raymond,” which had a 2010 theatrical release and debuted on Netflix this month. The film — which he wrote, directed and starred in — deals with Rosenthal’s frustration when he discovered that comedy doesn’t always translate well.

The camaraderie he experienced there is a theme that comes up again and again in conversation. “I saw her in a play and thought she was really funny,” he says. “The next time I saw her was by accident at a street-food fair. I was eating a giant rib with the juice dripping on my T-shirt and she was approaching with a mutual friend. “When we were introduced, I told her I was a big fan of hers and she said she was a big fan of mine, which was not true.

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