Why Andrew Zimmern Is Still Surprised By His Success - Exclusive

Andrew Zimmern pouring a drink
Andrew Zimmern pouring a drink - Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

After appearing on a raft of popular food-related television shows, most notably as star of the long-running "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" (five of which you can find in the United States), scoring a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host, and snagging several James Beard Awards -- including "TV Food Personality," "TV Program on Location," and "Outstanding Personality/Host," Andrew Zimmern is finally willing to describe himself as a little more than just lucky. "I guess after this long, I'm willing to admit I'm watchable," Zimmern said in an exclusive interview, stressing, "Number one, it's humbling to have a show that's popular anywhere."

While Zimmern's level of success would humble any decent person, his recent conversation with Daily Meal at the Nassau Paradise Island Wine and Food Fest's Taste of Paradise event revealed him to be an essentially modest man, as he spent much of it either centering other colleagues or giving a fascinating discourse on the state of media today.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

From Just A Few TV Channels To It Doesn't Matter

Andrew Zimmern in Miami
Andrew Zimmern in Miami - Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

"To be successful in my medium, you had to be on one of a relative handful of channels," Andrew Zimmern told Daily Meal, "and now it doesn't matter. There's so many millions of people on Tastemade that if you have the number one show [there], more people are seeing that than saw my show on Magnolia." For those unfamiliar, he's referring to the online food, travel, home and design media juggernaut whose 24-hour-a-day streaming channel is seen by upwards of 300 million people. By contrast, Zimmern's show "Family Dinner" aired on the Magnolia Network, which in 2023 averaged only 170 thousand viewers according to Statista. "Those kinds of things start to boggle your mind a little bit about how media is working these days," he said.

This still doesn't take away from the fact that Zimmern has been picked, over and over, to appear in television shows he either hosts ("Andrew Zimmern's Wild Game Kitchen") or guests on ("Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend" or "Silos Baking Competition," in which he appeared as a judge). How does he explain that recurring phenomena?

Watchability And What's Next

Andrew Zimmern in California
Andrew Zimmern in California - Leon Bennett/Getty Images

As Andrew Zimmern sees it, some people just have a certain alluring charisma. "If people could figure out why folks want to watch someone week after week, then programmers would have a really easy time of it. And they can't figure it out. And that's why you see a lot of the same people, because people want to watch them," he told Daily Meal. To him, it's an intangible element that's hard to define. "There's no explanation for it other than they're watchable, and I'm really lucky," he said. It was only after expressing his admiration for dinner party expert Bobby Flay that Zimmern was able to admit that he himself was watchable. A lot of people could have told him that already!

As for what's next, Zimmern gave Daily Meal some insight there too: "I have a documentary that I executive produced that's coming out on PBS." Called "Hope in the Water," it will air on PBS on June 19. "It's a three-part natural history doc that I co-produced with David E. Kelley," he said, before singing the writer-producer's praises and expressing the belief that their new documentary will "move the needle on some of the most pressing issues of our time, like our climate crisis and what's happening in our oceans." Could a short documentary on the three ingredients Andrew Zimmern won't eat be next?

Read the original article on Daily Meal.