Why Anthony Bourdain's 'Parts Unknown' Iran-Set Episode Isn't on Hulu

The late TV personality and chef visited the Middle Eastern country — whose government is currently in contention with President Donald Trump — for an episode of his CNN series' fourth season in 2014.
CNN
Anthony Bourdain

In 2014, during season four of CNN's Parts Unknown, host Anthony Bourdain visited Iran, a country where the late TV personality and chef once said he witnessed an extreme disconnect "between what one sees and feels from the people and what one sees and hears from the government."

Now, six years later, Iran's government is in contention with President Donald Trump's administration after the White House took responsibility for killing Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. Given the current conflict, fans of Parts Unknown have been speculating online that this is why the docuseries' Iran-set episode is not available to stream on Hulu.

However, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a Hulu spokesperson explained that is not the case. "Hulu does not license Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown directly — we only receive the on-demand episodes that are provided by the network," read the statement. "This particular episode has never been made available to Hulu, but we would welcome it on our service if provided."

Indeed, Parts Unknown is available on Hulu through its live TV product. (Hulu does not have the full SVOD rights to all episodes of the series.) It only offers episodes that CNN has recently aired or made available via On Demand.

CNN added that Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is only airing on CNN linear and CNNGo, and no longer available on any SVOD platforms. However, viewers may have seen the series on the Hulu+ Live TV offering. Parts Unknown will also be on HBOMax when it launches.

In his show notes for the episode of Parts Unknown shot in Iran, New York native Bourdain shared his appreciation for the "overwhelmingly friendly" greeting he and his crew were met with upon their arrival.

"This is not a black-and-white world, as much as people would like to portray it as such. That's not an apology for anything. I'm just saying that the brief, narrow slice of Iran we give you in this episode of Parts Unknown is only one part of a much deeper, multihued, very old and very complicated story," Bourdain wrote at the time. "Like anything as ancient and as beautiful as the Persian Empire, it's worth, I think, looking further. But it's also a place that can warm your heart one day and break it the next."

Bourdain died at age 61 from an apparent suicide in his hotel room in the South of France in June 2018. The 12th and final season of Parts Unknown aired later that year.

Jan. 17, 1 p.m. Updated with info from CNN about where Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is available to watch.