PBS Orders Food Series 'No Passport Required' From Vox Media

Host Marcus Samuelsson will travel America to explore the global cuisine cooked in local immigrant communities.
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Marcus Samuelsson

PBS' appetite for food programming is growing. 

The public broadcaster has ordered a travel food series, working title No Passport Required, from Vox Media. 

Hosted by Red Rooster Harlem chef Marcus Samuelsson, No Passport Required will travel across America to spotlight the cuisines of immigrant communities, from Little Ethiopia in Washington, D.C., to Little Kabul in Freemont, Calif. 

The six-episode, hourlong series will debut on PBS in 2018. 

"We're trying to move food into primetime," says Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager of general audience programming at PBS, which also airs A Chef's Life and The Great British Baking Show

"We do a lot in the how-to genre but to get into primetime it has to be bigger than that. [No Passports Required] is a great way into culture and cultural identity." 

No Passports Required is one of the first television projects to originate from Vox Entertainment, the studio arm of the publisher behind The Verge, Recode and SB Nation. Vox and its Curbed brand are also currently in production on Prefab Nation for FYI. 

Vox president Marty Moe calls the series concept "deeply rooted" in the company's Eater brand. "We thought it matched up really well with PBS given that they have both this national perspective but also deep local affiliate programming," Moe adds. 

PBS and Vox are planning a series of events in the cities showcased by No Passports Required. "Bringing people together to learn more about each other and the communities can only serve to make the programming more real for people," says Moe. Hoppe adds, "people are looking for an opportunity to have in-person connections and don't just want to consume media alone in their bubble." 

Eater is also planning to host behind-the-scenes digital video and to promote the series through its local city websites.  

PBS senior vp programming and business affairs Michael Kelley oversaw the deal. No Passport Required will be executive produced by Moe, Chad Mumm, Amanda Kludt, Jim Bankoff and Samuelsson for Vox. Pamela A. Aguilar and Bill Gardner are the executives in charge for PBS. 

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