Paltrow on Spanish road trip for PBS

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MADRID -- Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and three companions are setting off today on a real-life road trip around Spain in "Spain: On the Road Again," produced by Charles Pinsky's Frappe Prods. for PBS.

Chef and TV personality Mario Batali, New York Times dining and travel columnist Mark Bittman and Spanish TV actress Claudia Bassols will round out the foursome that will travel to unidentified destinations around Spain, "showcasing the country as it has never been seen before," Pinsky said.

"We want to do a show where we show what Spain is all about, both food and culturewise," Pinsky said. "We're looking for the most real and wonderful Spain."

Split into couples and traveling in cars, Paltrow, Bittman, Batali and Bassols will explore Spanish food, fashion, hotels, spas, nightlife, music and art.

According to Pinsky, Batali and Bittman are more focused on food and wine, while Paltrow and Bassols are expected to pursue fashion, spas, museums and shopping.

"The idea is to put a man and a woman in each car and see who prevails. It's not a reality show, but it is reality in the sense that we know women are always going to prevail," Pinsky said.

The show, which will be shot during a span of 10 weeks in English and Spanish, will run on PBS as 13 one-hour episodes during primetime in fall 2008. Havas Media is handling worldwide sales nonexclusively.

Pinsky said he decided to do the show while chatting with Batali in Rome about how Spain currently has the "internationally recognized hottest cuisine."

In order to make the show -- sponsored by Mercedes Benz, Catalan sparkling wine company Freixenet and the Spanish tourism board Turespana -- as insightful as possible, Frappe has hired dozens of Spaniards, including co-executive producer Eduardo Garcia Perez.

"There's been a lot of help from the Spanish government, local and regional governments as well as Spaniards at every level. It's a big project," the producer said. "An American could not just have walked in and done this project."

Hoping to avoid paparazzi attention in Spain, the producer declined comment on any of the scheduled stops or even in which direction the stars will head after their departure, with one exception: The foursome will enjoy what Pinsky calls "the best tapas bar, bar none," namely Inopia in Barcelona, owned by the one of the world's top chefs, Albert Adria.

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