Anderson Cooper has inked a deal to host a syndicated daytime talk show that's being billed as a possible Oprah replacement. What will this mean for daytime TV, and AC, who remains quiet about his private life?
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Anderson has made a deal with Telepictures Productions and Warner Bros. for a new show that will launch in fall 2011. He's worked out an agreement with CNN that will allow him to continue doing Anderson Cooper 360 at night. According to THR, the new show,
Will not have a hard-news focus, though given Cooper's background, he'll bring a more journalistic approach to handling popular topics compared to most daytime fare. The show is billed as a topical format that will cover everything from celebrities and pop culture to social issues and wide-interest news stories.
Anderson released a statement saying,
Over the course of the past few years, I've had the opportunity to work on a number of daytime programs... It's fun and interesting to work in daytime television. The format is unique and you can really go in-depth on a wide range of fascinating and compelling stories. With this new program I hope to relay important information and relate to people and the audience in a completely different way. It's an exciting opportunity to show another side of myself and create something worthwhile and special in daytime.
Anderson frequently fills in for Regis Philbin on Regis & Kelly and is utterly charming in the AM. Hosting two shows is really ideal for him. While guest-hosting Regis, he's demonstrated an incredible talent for feigning interest in Kelly Ripa's children and dishing about reality TV, however, it would have been a shame to lose one of America's most talented news anchors to the inanity of daytime TV. Now we're free to enjoy him making fun of Living Lohan, impersonating Paula Abdul, and trying on funny glasses without feeling guilty about tragic events going unreported.
He remarks, "It's an exciting opportunity to show another side of myself," but it's unclear what he means by that. Though Anderson's homosexuality is an open secret, he's chosen not to come out publicly. On Regis & Kelly, the stories he tells about his personal life are mainly focused on his wacky childhood as the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, like how she encouraged him to steal airline cutlery and took him to hang out with Michael Jackson at Studio 54 when he was 10.
So far, he's carefully avoided referencing his romantic life, but this may be a harder to keep up on a regular daytime show. Of course, no one should be forced to come out, but much of the morning show format revolves around hosts gabbing about their kids and significant others. Anderson's new show will have "a focus aimed at appealing to female viewers," which (for TV producers at least) means plenty of marriage and baby chatter.
Hopefully, Anderson will find a way to balance the more personal nature of morning TV with what he's comfortable revealing about his private life. There are several successful daytime stars who have managed to keep their romantic relationships private, including Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Rosie O'Donnell (before her show went off the air). Not being married with children certainly hasn't precluded Oprah from talking about the topics ad nauseum.
While Anderson's new show will definitely change his public image, we're even more excited about how he'll transform daytime in the post-Oprah era. Hearing AC rant about Snooki and the Situation is endlessly entertaining, but what sets him apart from the most other TV anchors is his intelligence and credibility. At a time when The View's often-misinformed "Hot Topics" banter has become a legitimate news source for many Americans, we're eager to see how Anderson will provide "a more journalistic approach to handling popular topics" on daytime TV.
Anderson Cooper Launching Daytime Talk Show [The Hollywood Reporter]
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