WINNER: ANTHONY BOURDAIN, NO RESERVATIONS, TRAVEL CHANNEL
There’s something intangible about Anthony Bourdain. His face is more interesting than handsome, and he’s not a world-class authority on food or culture. The restaurant he cooked at, Les Halles, serves hearty, not fancy, fare. Judging by the few times we’ve seen him in front of a room of TV critics or at a party with them, he’s uneasy with people. Still, he’s the perfect host for his globe-hopping series. Nearly fearless, he relishes the chance to experience a new cuisine or the traditions of far-off lands. And whether he’s sitting down for a meal with a peasant family in China or a noodle maker in Singapore, Bourdain’s at home. He’s funny, warm and just a little bit bad. (OK, so maybe he’s better one-on-one than in large groups.) Plus the voiceovers he contributes to the series are an excellent mix of research and personal observation. Most important, he makes the viewer feel like they’re a part of every meal he eats and each journey he takes.
Whoopi Goldberg, Stream, FEARnet: No question, it’s Goldberg’s distinctive voice and ability to seem mysterious that makes her a terrific host on FEARnet.
Mark Zona, World’s Greatest Fishing Show, ESPN: Zona might just be the most unlikely looking television host in the business. He just doesn’t seem to fit the part of talent. Zona appears to be the quintessential fisherman, though, which makes him perfect to oversee ESPN’s fishing series.