Anderson Cooper’s new daytime series begins today, and few talk shows have arrived with a better sense of the host in place. There are so many possible Katie Courics, it’s still anyone’s guess what her show will be, but where Couric seems to flounder and zig-zag, Cooper has cultivated a more positive sense of versatility. We’ve seen him report for days on end from war zones, stand up in hurricanes and – maybe most relevantly for his new syndicated adventure – get the giggles during the Ridiculist segment on CNN’s continuing AC360. (If you missed him cracking up about Gerard Depardieu peeing on a plane, it’s priceless: check it out here.)
The first installment of Anderson plays to his serious side. Here’s a clip from the premiere featuring Amy Winehouse’s defensive father, who insists she was not on drugs in the last years of her life (alcohol yes, drugs no).
We’ll see how Cooper balances the heaviness with the fluff, not to mention the demands of traveling to hot spots for the news and parachuting back to a studio audience. But his persona wears well, and his ability to make every look into the camera seem sincere is a TV host’s greatest gift. I’m optimistic, and not only because tomorrow’s show reportedly includes a chat with the pee-master himself, Depardieu.
His lineup seems heavy on the Oprah-esque, lighter on the giggles though: Tuesday a visit from Kathy Griffin and Daniel Radcliffe (Cooper did the narration for Radcliffe’s Broadway show How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying); Wed, real-life stories of women abandoned at birth (major Oprah alert); Thursday Sarah Jessica Parker brings the cast and a big plug for her movie I Don’t Know How She Does It.
I’ll let you know how it plays out. (UPDATE: Here’s my review plus more video.)
In New York City, Anderson is on at 4 P.M. on WPIX, the CW channel (not exactly Oprah-size). To find other channels and times you can check the show’s web site, Andersoncooper.com.