TV producer Phil Rosenthal goes in front of the camera for his new travelogue show. TV producer Phil Rosenthal goes in front of the camera for his new travelogue show. TV producer Phil Rosenthal goes in front of the camera for his new travelogue show. (Photo: PBS)

'Everybody Loves Raymond' creator launches a new show, and it's about ... food?!?

Phil Rosenthal eats his way around the world in fun PBS travelogue series.

Any fan of the popular sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" knows that some of the show's funniest scenes took place around the dinner table.

That notion is not lost on the show's creator, Phil Rosenthal, who has decided to merge two of his favorite things – food and comedy – into a new series. In "I'll Have What Phil's Having," Rosenthal will travel to locales around the globe – from Tokyo and Los Angeles to Barcelona and Paris – tasting international cuisines. He'll bring along some of his famous friends, including actors Martin Short and Allison Janney, and TV icon Norman Lear. And of course, Ray Romano will also be making an appearance.

The six-episode first season begins tonight at 10 on PBS.

Rosenthal is looking ahead to the second season and is already choosing locales. He said that Israel, where he has visited, is on the itinerary. “I would love to go to Israel [again]. What I loved most was the people I met, and the food was spectacular. I can’t wait to go back to Tel Aviv, which is such a happening scene. I had the best chicken pita of my life there.”

With eyes bulging at every stop, Rosenthal is more like a kid in a candy store than a refined chef and TV host like Anthony Bourdain. That enthusiasm infuses the show with more of an everyman feel. Indeed, the name of the series can evoke a shared, common experience. "The world can be a beautiful, delicious and friendly place when we travel and eat great food together," Rosenthal said.

This is not the first time the usually shy, behind-the-camera Rosenthal will appear on screen. He's made cameos on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Simpsons" and "30 Rock." And in 2010, he headlined the hilarious cross-cultural documentary "Exporting Raymond" about his quixotic quest to launch a Russian version of his hit sitcom.

As for his new travelogue show, Rosenthal is hoping it does better crossing international boundaries. "In my few years on this Earth, I've boiled it down to food, family, friends, laughs and travel," he told USA Today. "I believe we connect over food. A deeper connection for me comes from sharing a laugh. And, when we're sharing a laugh with someone from another culture, Wow! That's a connection made."


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Related Topics: Healthy eating, Travel, TV