Anderson Cooper's 'Anderson' premiere: 'Real,' 'raw,' and 'ready.' Really? A review.

Anderson Cooper began his syndicated daytime talk show Anderson on Monday, and it is, of course, unfair to evaluate a new talk show on the basis of its opening edition. But TV critics, like any other TV viewers, make immediate snap judgments that then change over time, so here are a few that occurred to me watching the new Anderson:

• The opening credits which feature footage of Cooper in action (how many viewers are going to tweet that you should be wearing a helmet while on that bike, Anderson?), are augmented with buzz-words floating across the screen: “Real” “Raw” “Ready.” What? Slight miscalculation here in making one’s show sound like either a wrestling match or soft-core porn.

• Lining the back wall of the audience seats are big, metal-gray letters (a color that matches Cooper’s hair) spelling out “A N D E R S O N”: Pretty!

• Cooper’s first show is devoted to the life and death of Amy Winehouse, with family members including the late singer’s parents as his guests. I get the idea that he wanted to start his show with a topic that was both serious (to resonate with his hard-news credibility) and pop-culture (to signal that he’s going to do celebrity-themed shows). And some of the conversation was interesting, and poignant. While Winehouse’s father, Mitch, said, “We would not have been surprised if she’d died four years ago,” he also claims that Amy was on the mend — “We could see the light at the end of the tunnel” — were it not for the sudden death he ascribes to “a seizure [and] no one was there to rescue her.”

• Throughout, Cooper is calm but assiduous in his questioning, including personal details when they seem appropriate (mentioning the suicide of his brother as an example of how horrific and numbing the sudden death of a loved one is).

• Coming attractions for future shows this week show Anderson reunited with his New Year’s Eve buddy Kathy Griffin: Inevitable, but also probably will be fun.

• Anyone who thinks viewers won’t accept Cooper in this role while he maintains his serious-anchor role on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 is foolish. For one thing, it’s not as though Cooper hasn’t gone down the pop-culture road before. This is, after all, a man who hosted a glorious season of The Mole. For another, news anchors have always dabbled in pop culture coverage. It’s clear that Cooper is using Phil Donahue as a rough role model, mixing news and fluff in what he hopes will be the right amounts to secure ratings while also engaging in some serious discussion.

All in all, a good opening day; I’ll keep watching the rest of the week. Will you?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (134 total) Add your comment
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  • Woot

    I’m glad you mentioned The Mole! I thought I was the only person who watched that show! I fervently hate reality TV… but I absolutely loved the Mole (and Anderson on it.) So disappointed it got cancelled. Anyways, I couldn’t watch Anderson’s talk show, but I definitely want to check it out.

    • Maggie

      I couldn’t agree more! I love The Mole and still miss it to this day! My husband and I watched it religiously – it was so much better than any other reality TV on now. Boo. I will definitely check out Anderson’s new show – didn’t realize it started today.

    • ella

      I loved that show but i saw it when i was younger so i don’t even remember that anderson was the host. i love him

    • Flip

      Anderson actually did two seasons of The Mole.

      • Dhppy

        Yes, but only the first one was glorious.

  • jfms777

    I bet he will do fine, including the ratings. It won’t be Oprah-successful, but who is?

    • jodipo

      I agree. nothing will be Oprah successful but Anderson will do just fine. Women like me will watch just because he is pretty

    • stepasidesue

      Funny you said that! He seems like a ‘very’ white Oprah.

  • ^

    If he wants to be “real” than come out of the closet!
    I guess he’ll wait until the ratings plummet.

    • ^

      EDIT: then

    • Larry817

      Anderson is not in the closet!

      • ^

        He’s out then?
        Bravo to him.

    • Anon.

      I live in Canada, and E! had a “no holds barred” interview in which they implied that everything would be discussed, and guess what? His sexuality never came up. I call that “in the closet”.

      • Rob

        Well, first things first, was Anderson even asked about his sexuality? I didn’t see this special so I don’t know. I swear you can’t win. Either your pummeled for not talking about it or your pummeled for talking about it too much. To some people just mentioning your gay is talking about it too much. I think Ellen has quite a nice balance. You know she’s gay, married and quite happy. I watch Ellen everyday and she hardly browbeats you with what the conservatives call the ‘gay agenda’. It’s up to Anderson whether he wants to talk about his private life. Everyone has a different path to explore, gay or straight. Ellen’s was her sitcom. Maybe Anderson’s talk show will open his desire to talk about it. In essence, I’m not losing sleep over it but will applaud it when he does.

      • ^

        He’s a BVD Deviant. Nothing wrong with it, just come clean.

      • Rob

        Mon,

        Please talk in English. What exactly is a BVD Deviant?????

      • Woot

        Okay let me just make several points:
        -It is possible for a man to not talk about his sexuality in public (since Cooper is a celebrity) but be completely open about it with his family and friends.
        -Whether you want to admit it or not, coming out does change how people perceive you. Anderson has stated (in regards to his sexuality and personal life) that he wants to report news and not be the news.
        -Cooper is the kind of guy who goes out in the field when a major event or story breaks. He is not one to avoid foreign countries in turmoil or war zones. Some of these countries have WAY different views on homosexuality. It’s not like here where people who believe every word of the bible want to “save you” from homosexuality… some of these countries kill homosexuals on sight. I’m sure Cooper doesn’t want to jeopardize his ability to travel.
        So can we lay off the man? Let him do what he wants.

      • @rob

        BVDs are men’s underwear.
        Hanes Grazer would’ve worked better?

      • Fatima

        Anderson hardly tries to hide it. He doesn’t lie. Rob is exactly right: You see all these posts criticizing him for not mentioning it. The moment there would be an article like “Anderson Cooper: ‘I’m Gay'” you’d have a chorus of commenters saying “Why do we care? It’s your own business.” You can’t win.

      • ella

        everyone knows he is gay. it doesn’t define him so he doesn’t feel the need to talk about it. plus us ladies love him regardless

      • ok

        People know he’s gay. If he doesn’t want to talk about it that’s his business. It’s a personal decision.

    • nodnarb

      People who require that others announce their sexuality with declarative statements like “I am gay” are operating at a lower intelligence threshold.

      • hal9thou

        I’m gay and I completely disagree. Celebrities are role models. Homsexuals are still a minority discriminated against through bigotry and hatred. The more strong, intelligent, and out in their prime popularity celebrities we have, the better. We don’t need anymore Ricky Martins. Shame on Anderson for being silent on this important issue.

    • mick

      He isn’t in the closet but like heterosexuals dosen’t feel the need to discuss which side they’re on. Why do people think gays should announce it. Loved the show. Anderson always did terrific filling in for Regis so I’m not surprised.

    • daisy

      why is it you homophobes scream about people coming out of the closet, but if he did you would crucify him for being gay. Losers like you give straight people a bad name

    • Steve

      Who cares? You probably will never meet him, so why is it your business?

  • SC

    Can’t stand this sanctimonious ahole.

    • @SC

      To whom are you referring to? If you are replying to ^ then I completely agree with you. If you are talking about Cooper, then we need to post numerous comments telling you to shut up!

      • @@SC

        How about numerous posts telling YOU to shut up?

      • ^

        Hooray

      • max

        You only have to say “to” once, and it should not come at the end of a sentence. For example: “To whom are you referring?” is enough.

  • Denise

    I need something to fill the void left by The Talk fiasco. I will set my dvr.

  • Kevin

    Anderson Cooper is one of those Liberal media stars that doesn’t dare have a conservative idea, agree with any conservative politician, or criticize any Democratic official. If he did he would lose his liberal/Democratic fan base and probably lose his job. There is no point in watching his show because he will follow his networks political views exactly and is unable to have an original idea or express any value of any conservative idea. This is a problem with for lot of people in different walks of life. For eample an actor won’t work much, (unless they are a superstar), if they voice support for Repunlican platforms. Steve Nash was chosen by the media as MVP of the NBA for 2 years over the likes of Tony Parker and Tony Ducan who embarrassed him in the playoffs for years, all because he was outspoken about his ant-war views. Surely both parties and groups with different political views all have valid ideas about something.

    • Mark Jeffries

      Documented proof that CNN is “liberal,” wingnut teabagger moron. And why don’t you tell me about those great ratings Roger Ailes’ puppets Mike and Juliet had with their syndicated show? Moron.

    • Rob

      Er….Kevin, what exactly is Anderson’s political views? Just because he works for CNN you labeled him a liberal? I find CNN more fair & balanced than Fox. BTW, Anderson is on in many markets and here in NYC, it’s on Channel 11, WPIX. What exact political view would this teach me should I tune in? I’m surprised you even found the time to comment on EW…the bastion of liberal ideas and decay of morals due to endless coverage of reality shows, etc. I think it says more about people like you Kevin who make it a point, even before a show airs mind you, that they won’t watch based on potential political views. Andersons first guest are the family of Amy Winehouse. I doubt they’ll be talking about who will best cut the national debt.

      • Kevin

        My comments, obviously, are based on Anderson’s slanted behaviors in political nterviews and commentary. in the past. I don’t believe I commented about his new show. My guess is his anti-conservative political views will come out when the slightest oportunity arises. Why don’t you pretend you’re a Republican and listen to his next interview with a Republican leader. You could even tape it and later compare the questions and comments Anderson makes in an interview with a Democratic politician. Interestingly,I find it telling about you, that you needed to make a personal attack against me in the middle of your reaction to my opinion.

      • A Different Kevin (thankfully)

        Your reply here is mere rhetoric. Provide EXAMPLES… not just baseless opinion.

      • daisy

        sorry, but Kevin may be right… and who the hell cares. Yep, he is a liberal. guess what, a whole s h i t load of people NOT on Fox news are liberals. Just because he doesn’t spout your insane ideals doesnt make him a sheep, it means he disagrees with you. The problem with you conservatives is you act like that so you assume everyone else is as pathetic as you are. Nope. Liberals think for themselves, they frequently criticize their own party and they don’t get in trouble for it. Republicans are the party of ” tow the line” , not democrat so get your crap straight and if scary libs are so disturbing then stick with Bill O reilley and the rest of the Murdoch cronies.

    • Speech Teacher

      Not sure what a “Repunlican” is, but if it’s like a REPUBLICAN, then I think Patricia Heaton and Craig T. Nelson would disagree that they can’t find work.

      • mags

        Kelsey Grammer might also disagree. And of course, Clint Eastwood would disagree. Eastwood, a longtime Republican, endorsed McCain in the last Presidential election. (Ashton Kutcher was a McCain supporter until McCain picked Palin, and then Ashton endorsed Obama, only because he hated Palin.)

      • dan

        Was going to post the same thing about Patricia Heaton. She is well known in Hollywood as being on the conservative side (although I think she describes herself as being more liberal with social issues except for abortion) and she has been very successful with two Emmy wins for “Raymond.” Susan Lucci is another famous Republican who seems to be doing alright.

    • ella

      I don’t care about his politics he is effing sexy and eye candy. I watch CNN to stare at his beautiful face. He has such a charismatic personality and his laugh is infectious. You people are just jealous. Anderson comes from wealth so what if he isn’t an elitist snob? JEALOUSLY IS A HORRIBLE THING

    • @Kevin

      Your post doesn’t make sense. You talk about conservative actors not getting work, and your “example” is a basketball player got an MVP award over players that you believe are better. Do you even know the political views of the other players? And how does a basketball award translate to conservative actors not getting jobs?

    • mags

      Kevin, you must not watch Cooper on CNN. Unlike Fox News, Cooper IS fair and balanced. He tries to get to the truth, and cuts through the political BS. Perhaps you think Cooper is biased because your political heroes are the ones who BS the most, and therefore get called out on their lies.

    • stepasidesue

      Are you serious? Obviously you don’t watch his show often There are times when I think he should go work for Fox News.

  • karin

    what time is Anderson’s talk show on?

    • ^

      The same time that you go buy a watch.

    • mick

      It’s on at different times and channels in different areas. If you go to his website: http://www.andersoncooper.com/ You can find on when he’s on in your area.

  • Steve

    Anderson~ A very classy way to address the rumors abouit your sexuality would be to interview your partner. Think of the images, the precedent, the sheer normalcy of it, and how very educational that would all be for the many Neaderthals inhabiting our planet.

    • Philly Tom

      Does anyone know what channel and what time AC’s show is on in the Philadelphia area? Can’t seem to find it anywhere. Unfortunately, I found the Talk. It totally sucks without Holly & Leah. What happened with them getting fired????

      • stepasidesue

        Why haven’t they mentioned their absence on the show.
        They got fired?

      • Philly Tom

        Maybe because they were the ones who made the show, and Julie & her hubby were threatened by their popularity? You can’t have the first lady of CBS being the 4th or 5th most popular person on the show.

    • nodnarb

      I’m not sure Andy thinks of him as “partner” yet… I believe they’re just dating

    • mags

      Maybe his partner is a private person who doesn’t want to be dragged into the spotlight.

  • Justin

    So… that’s what happened to King Silas’ boardroom after “Kings” was cancelled.

    • dee123

      OMG! It is the same!

  • jim bourne

    Don Lemon of CNN came out…why can’t Anderson? Anderson, be a man and don’t “not say anything” as if you’re ashamed of it.

    • Sam

      Anderson IS out to everyone at work, family and friends. Maybe you won’t be happy until he does a People cover “I’m Gay”?
      It isn’t the general public’s business.

      • Mr.

        The rules for coming out are different once you become a public figure. By refusing to come out, he is contributing to the perception that he is ashamed of being gay. Why won’t he just come out and say it????
        What is he afraid of!?!? I think he’s afraid his career will take a hit once his female fans find out he is gay, and if that is the case, then he is a coward. He is not part of my community…f***ing coward.

      • @Mr.

        He does not have to “come out” publicly, personally or any other way to satisfy you. If he wants his private life private that is his choice. He has never denied his sexuality; he just doesn’t choose to exploit it for the personal agenda of the likes of you. Get over yourself. He doesn’t need to satisfy your ridiculous criteria to be true to himself or pass your cowardice test. You “Mr.” are the coward, allowed to make your ridiculous remarks in anonymity as you criticize others.

      • Speech Teacher

        If he were walking red carpets with some female model, pretending to be heterosexual, THAT might qualify as cowardly, but keeping his private life private doesn’t strike me as cowardly. I’m not convinced that who a person loves is any of my business, anyway.

      • mags

        Mr.,
        Anderson is a news reporter, not an actor. Why should he talk about his personal life, when Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, and the rest do not? They are there to report the news, not be the news.

    • tyler

      Don Lemon came out to the public when he felt the time was right for him, and he was allowed to do that without people in the media and internet harassing him on the topic all the time. Anderson should be allowed to have his own choices and time table too. Don is older than Anderson, so he actually waited longer to come out to the public than Anderson has so far.

      • LW

        What is this? A 5th grade forum in 1960? All you are concerned about is his sexuality?? Geez…..

      • mags

        Don Lemon came out to sell his book.

    • Jamie

      If this show is a success, I think we are going to eventually see him become more comfortable discussing his sexuality, in a conversational way. He’ll probably start by saying things like “we” in the course of his dialogue, and eventually talking about, and having Ben on the show – much like Oprah did with Steadman. Why “announce” it, when it just “is?” Supposedly…Anderson’s dangerous job, globe-trotting around the globe, is an issue between them. A long-term success with the talk show could be the vehicle that allows him to settle down and open up more about his private life. I wish Anderson and Ben the best – they are an adorable couple.

      • Amazed

        “Why “announce” it, when it just “is?” Supposedly…Anderson’s dangerous job, globe-trotting around the globe, is an issue between THEM.”

        My questions to you is why must YOU be the “vehicle” who announces the name of his companion for all to see? It seems like more of a case of name dropping than anything else. If you REALLY wish them the best do it in person. Don’t make this your “I know more about Anderson than you” platform. Let Anderson be “the vehicle that allows HIMself to settle down and open up more about his private life”

        That was so uncool.

      • Jamie

        Oh please…submit your reply to the Drama Desk. I’m not making some big announcement and outing his partner. It’s definitely no secret – or Anderson is terrible at keeping one. They’ve been together over a year now, they are often seen together, traveled together, and Anderson has brought him to public events as his companion. He’s a bar owner in NYC. Any fifth-grader could Google “Anderson” and find that out. My point is, Anderson doesn’t need to make some big announcement, as some seem to think he should. Everyone knows he’s gay and in a relationship. The new show (if he chooses) will give him a way to share personal parts of his life, certainly much easier than his CNN show would. He doesn’t have to say anything, but I think as the show develops we’ll see a much more easygoing and personal side of him.

      • mags

        Steadman wasn’t on Oprah’s show until she was about to go off the air. She rarely talked about Steadman, which lead to all the rumors about her and Gayle.

  • Kevin

    Rob, why don’t you try to have a discussion of opinions with some of your friends, family or even on line without going on the attack. Try this once a day for a week and then twice a day, and then try to gradually work it into your general personality.

    • Rob

      Kevin,

      Whaaaat???? You think I was attacking you? Did you not read what you initially typed that I responded to? Talk about attack…liberal this, liberal that, bias this, bias that. YOU wrote THAT. If you think what I said was harsh, well, then you deserve to be pissed off.

  • Andrew

    I think the show will be terrible. His news show is full of emotion injected fanaticism for extreme left ideals. He will fit in well in Hollywood. He’s a mangina though.

    • @Andrew

      I hope the Tea Party public relations machine is paying you well to post your garbage.

  • Duncan

    First weeks guests include Snookie and the Housewives of WHO CARES! If he wants to continue to lower the bar of daytime TV, continue to provide a platform for these no talent morons to air their nothingness. When he has any members of that no talent family ( notw orth mentioning their name) on, I will sign off for good!

    • ella

      What about Daniel Radcliffe? I saw a pic of them together for an interview I can not miss that episode as I love DanRad and anything harry potter. Plus Anderson is lovely. I hope he brings kathy griffin on the two of them have amazing chemistry. you can tell she is in love

  • Scott

    I liked the show..and I like Anderson..he is very personable. However, i found his studio audience was to large. it takes away from the intimate feel of a daytime talk show. That’s my only critic. i can’t wait til tomorrow..Kathy Griffin baby :)

  • keith

    I think he’ll do really well. He is very popular among some key demos the advertising companies love. He has a gift for being able to report on serious issues while also being able to relate to a pop culture obsessed public.

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