interesting details on the new deal for Anderson Cooper.
The Cable Gamer notes that both CNN and Cooper, are saying, very explicitly, that Cooper will remain on "AC 360," even as he takes up his daytime show in Fall 2011. So let's think about this here: Are we really to believe that Cooper will be baking cakes and analyzing diet plans during the day, for his talk show, and then traveling to, say New Orleans or Haiti, in the evening? Does that really make sense?
As TCG analyzes CNN's options here, she thinks back to her recent post about the tanking of both "AC 360" and "American Morning," starring John Roberts and Kiran Chetry. As "Fox & Friends" kicks "AM" to the curb, and Greta Van Susteren clobbers Cooper, is there another solution for CNN's new chief, Ken Jautz? Let's consider.
Yes, both shows are losing in respective evening and morning time slots, but there's a difference that bodes poorly for Roberts and Chetry: Cooper has more power inside CNN, CNN has spent a lot to promote him over the years, and CNN just re-signed him to an expensive long term contract. So the network has to use him for something. If they don't, not only will they have wasted money, but Vanity Fair and TheWrap.com will move on for the kill on "CNN in disarray"-type stories. And besides, Cooper has some demonstrated talent in the daytime format. There's no law that says that "Live! With Regis and Kelly" needs to use Cooper as a substitute for Regis Philbin--it's an ABC-syndicated show; in a perfect world, ABC would use the substitute slot to burnish some up-and-coming ABC talent. But instead, they use Cooper, because they like him and want him; he must be good for ratings.
(Kinda makes you wonder, of course, why Jautz's predecessor, Jon Klein thought that Cooper would be good as a hard newsman--nobody ever thought that Regis could be another Edward R. Murrow--but the one thing we know for sure is that Regis has never wanted John Roberts to sub for him, just as Kelly Ripa has never wanted Kiran to sub for her.)
No doubt Roberts and Chetry are panicking, realizing that Jautz has been brought in to fix weak spots in the network--of which their show is one of the weakest. The wisdom of cable news is that you make money in the morning and in the evening, so Jautz is surely considering his options in fixing what should be a profit center for the network.
So what can CNN do? One possibility for the morning slot would be to bring Robin Meade over from HLN. Robin is adorable, as well as a proven ratings-getter, but what good would it do to move her from one CNN property to the other? And besides, in such a shift, there's always the chance that the audience won't follow, and in any case, HLN would need to find a replacement for Meade. But of course, just such a shift could happen, because Meade is a genuine star; if she demanded the move to the more prestigious CNN--why more prestigious, don't ask me, but it is--she could probably get her way, lest Time-Warner risk losing her altogether. (Sorry, Kiran!)
But here's another thought: What if Cooper's CNN went from the evening to the morning? It's going to be extremely difficult to manage Cooper's daytime show and his evening show. In the daytime, as noted earlier, he'll be baking cakes and dishing on celebs (and loving it), while in the evening, he'll be reporting on hard news (maybe that's he always looks so wan; it's not that he cares so much about Haitians, it's that he misses catting it up on Paris Hilton back in Manhattan). And how is going to do both, come to think of it? How is he going to be in Manhattan in the morning, making crepes with Julia Roberts as she plugs her new movie, and then in Afghanistan covering the latest war news? Answer: He can't. And so one or both gigs will suffer. Perhaps Anderson will have to limit his foreign travel on his evening show, or perhaps he will have to put several daytime shows in the can, and spool them out when he's traveling. But of course, pretaped shows have a way of looking stale--audiences figure it out pretty quickly. So not a good option.
And of course, there's something basically ridiculous about shifting, in the same day, from gabbing with Lady Gaga to interviewing Mahamoud Achmadinejad. Eventually someone will juxtapose those interviews on YouTube, and Cooper will become a figure of fun, beyond the snarkzone of Gawker.
So that's TCG's hunch: Cooper continues to be a big cheese at CNN, but he starts us off in the morning, not closes us down in the evening. He's better at the morning-type format, and then he does basically the same kind of show a few hours later. No need to keep trying to be Murrow, or even Peter Jennings; he can just be himself. No need change his game-face from one show to the other, he can keep the same tone for both gigs. Yes, there is the issue of getting up so early in the morning to be ready to go at 7 am--they will miss AC on the latenight prowl in the West Village!--but nobody gets to Jautz's place in the world without having the skill to talk people into doing things.
So that leaves just two questions, one easy, one hard. The easy question is getting rid of Roberts and Chetry. That's a no-brainer, and is probably already in the works. The harder question is who to replace Cooper with at 10 pm. That is a little hard. TCG will put her thinking cap, next, on that one.
But if Cooper's CNN show went to the morning, he could relatively light and fluffy in the AM, and then even more light and fluffy in the daytime.
What could be more divine?
Home » » Could Anderson Cooper be the Great Morning Hope? Wouldn't it make more sense for Anderson to do two fluffy shows a day, not one fluffy show and one serious show? So could "AC360" become "AC Morning"? The Cable Gamer can't be the only one who has thought of this.