Eliot Spitzer's supposed to be a controversial and "polarizing" figure. So why does his new CNN show look so boring?
Back in June, the Observer's Felix Gillette and Reid Pillifant wrote of Spitzer's cable news chances:
The truth is, a solid foundation in scandal has come to be a perfectly respectable starting point for any small-screen aspirant hoping to break through in an age of hundreds of channels and on-demand everything. Whatever else his qualifications, Mr. Spitzer has proven in recent times to have a knack for one of the more prized skills in cable news-namely, polarizing audiences.
Call it Spitz-o-phrenia.
Actually, CNN calls it Parker Spitzer, which Salon's Alex Pareene points out "would be a good name for a sitcom that took place at a wacky law firm. Or a bad name for a hotel." That's funnier than anything Spitzer and co-host Kathleen Parker say in their promo for the 8 PM show (premiering Oct. 4), although they do riff on the name a bit in a bland approximation of camaraderie. Memo to CNN: an extended discussion of "people's eyes glazing over" does not scream "exciting TV personalities."
In June, Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald told the Observer, "If he's going to be the old Eliot Spitzer, I think that's a welcome voice. [...] But if he's just going to blend into the landscape, then I'm indifferent." At least from the promo, Spitzer appears to be doing more blending than polarizing, and it's a bit strange to see someone who's supposed to inspire such strong emotions instead acting like somebody's genial uncle. CNN can take comfort, though — no matter what, Parker Spitzer has to be better than Ashley Dupre's advice column.