[Photo: Travel Channel]
Surprise: Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern has a new project airing on the Travel Channel this weekend. The Border Check — produced by Zero Point Zero — will air Sunday, May 5th at 5:00 PM ET, with the episode taking place at the US/Mexico border in Tijuana. Zimmern tells Eater he developed the concept for the show with ZPZ to consider the question, "Where does one place end and another begin?" He calls it "the eternal traveler's question." Should it get picked up as a series, Zimmern says he would love to explore other borders, whether it's "the two sides of Kansas City, whether it's Highway 4 separating Vietnam and China, whether it's the DMZ separating the Koreas, there are lots of obvious places. But then there are places that aren't obvious at all."
The show will have a slight food focus, although Zimmern says, "We got to talk to everyone from border protection people to musicians to restaurant folks to food vendors that are hawking their wares along the highway bridge that separates the two countries." And it's not just people crossing the border: "There's a lot of trash that comes out of the highlands, from the ocean just below the border, and a lot of this garbage ends up going down into the water...It's a fascinating look at a border that is completely porous, a product that you can't issue a passport to or control." The show will look at how food, culture and more move back and forth across the border.
So why hasn't anyone heard of it before now? And why is it airing on a Sunday afternoon? According to Zimmern:
I don't know how to interpret that. It is Cinco de Mayo and we did make a Mexico show. Traditionally, certainly with the position I'm in with the network, I would think I would've gotten a weeknight, more in prime time, if they really wanted to test the show. It presents some challenges for the network because Bizarre Foods is doing very well, and they want the focus to be on that. I think also the show was made at a time when Tony and ZPZ were both making television for Travel Channel, and now they aren't making shows for Travel Channel.
We filmed it maybe 15, 16 months ago. So it's taken a long time to get on air, but such are the slings and arrows of the television business. I'm rooting for the show...It's a fascinating look at the way TV works in certain sense. When this project started, it was called the Pilot by the network. Now it's called the Special. I see everything that I do that's new as a pilot, because if people like it, why not make more of them?
So check out the clips below, and if you like it, check it out Sunday at 5:00. And if enough people watch it, why not make more of them?
Video: The Border Check: Homemade Empanadas and Cookies
Video: Mexico's Lucha Libre
Video: Birthplace of the Caesar Salad