How Did ABC News’ Nick Watt Finagle His Own Travel Channel Show?

By Brian Flood 

ABC News correspondent Nick Watt‘s new Travel Channel show Watt’s World premieres Tuesday with back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. ET. The Emmy-award winning journalist and producer has traveled to nearly 90 different countries while either traveling with his parents or reporting for Good Morning America and Nightline. Watt’s World takes him to the weirdest and most fascinating places, asking unique questions to locals.

Watt asks things like, why do Albanians hang stuffed animals outside their homes? Are the French really that rude? And is cuddling the newest profession in Portland? We give him a taste of his own medicine in 5 Questions.

TVNewser: You’re a correspondent for ABC News, so how did you finagle your own Travel Channel show?

Watt: I’m not entirely sure how this happened. For a start, my boss James Goldston didn’t throw me out of his office when I came in with the idea for a show that would see me stay the weekend with weird people. He’s pretty open-minded. That idea gradually morphed into traveling around the world to places I’ve always wanted to go. For example, I’ve wanted to visit Albania ever since I was a kid and saw the strange little mushroom bunkers dotted all over the then-Communist country. But I’d never found anyone else who would go with me, until now. It helps that ABC News now has its own production company, Lincoln Square, that is now producing shows for other channels.

TVNewser: What was the most bizarre thing you encountered while filming Watt’s World?

Watt: Maybe a boiling lake in Dominica, or a women’s prison actually in Venice, or a UFO enthusiast late at night on the slopes of Mount Shasta, California.

TVNewser: You’ve been to almost half of the countries on the planet. Which one has the worst food?

Watt: Every single country I’ve visited has great food and terrible food. Iraq is a perfect example. I once got so sick there on a gross piece of chicken that I was so violently ill I popped a hernia in my chest. But in Iraq I’ve also eaten one of the my favorite dishes on earth: 24–hour slow cooked stuffed peppers served with yoghurt. France is somewhat similar: they have amazing duck, croissants and buttery sauces. But they also have some of the skinniest, grossest sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.

TVNewser: OK, so what’s your favorite meal and where do I find it?

Watt: The Crail Fish Bar in Fife, Scotland. Haddock and chips. I’m a sucker for fried food. I’m Scottish. It’s genetic. They cook the chips in beef fat. And they do very little with the fish. Vinegar, salt and brown sauce. Perfect. Plenty places around the world try to make fish and chips. But once you’ve eaten haddock and chips in Crail, you will spurn all imposters. The most surprising great meal was in Tirana, Albania. A couple of Albanians who lived in Pennsylvania for years recently returned and opened a place called D-Town. The chef, Niko, makes everything himself. He can’t find a sous chef in Tirana who he thinks is good enough. So he flies solo. And the food – American and Italian – is stunning and unexpected.

TVNewser: You’ve covered everything to the Academy Awards to the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Do you prefer working on hard news or entertainment-based content?

Watt: Basically I like covering anything and everything. I’m not sure I could ever be a beat reporter. The closest I came was when I lived in London and covered the Royals a lot. And that’s part of the reason I upped sticks and moved to Los Angeles. I remember my parents were furious when they paid a lot of money when I was a teenager for a ‘potential career assessment’ and all the tester could tell them was, “Nick will have trouble working within a structured environment.” I like working on an ugly dog contest one day and an investigation the next. I would love to do more in-depth, meaningful investigations, but you can’t have everything.