I give Anderson Cooper a ton of crap for being a high-profile closet case, but I'm actually an Anderson Cooper fan. That said, the first episode of his new daytime talk show Anderson was a bit of a disappointment.
The main crux of whether or not Anderson would be a successful daytime host is whether he can open up about his personal life and connect personally and emotionally to guests and audience members in the way that made Oprah and others before her such a success. After all this is the guy who appears on Live with Regis and Kelly, Andy Cohen's Half Hour Ego Stroke, and his very own Ridiculist, and shows a knowledge of pop culture and quick and biting wit that makes him seem like the kind of guy you'd want to hang out with. Based on his first show will he be able to bring that to his show? Hmm, not yet at least.
The first episode was an interview with the family of Amy Winehouse, but it was basically a platform for Mitch Winehouse to defend his dead daughter's reputation. Anderson did a good job interviewing the family, even at one point talking about his brother's suicide and how it affected him, but he didn't conjure up the intimacy that a daytime audience really craves. He did make sure the family stuck to the facts of what happened to her and exactly what was in the toxicology report released after her autopsy. Being a journalist to the end is what might differentiate Anderson from the pack.
But maybe we can't blame the Coop for the show being a little staid and boring. While the interviews were a "get" for the show, they were a bit somber for an introductory episode that should be a bit more celebratory. Also if Oprah had them on, she would demand that there be some sort of scoop or exclusive information for the show to market to attract viewers and get people talking. There was none of that here, just the same old musing about Amy's wasted talent and her family's pain at her loss. Not to discount their grief, but we didn't learn—or even worse, didn't feel—anything new since we heard the news of her death in July.
Still, there are some glimmers of hope for the show. His jaunty film he made while biking to work was fun, but the Irish mother in me wants him to wear a helmet and pay attention to traffic. It's dangerous up there on Columbus Circle, Andy! Also, the previews for tomorrow's show where he interviews Kathy Griffin, Snooki, and Danielle Radcliffe and bares his torso for a spray tan (yum!) looks a lot more fun. That's the sort of goofy, tuned-in Silver Fox I want to hang out with it. Today we got prissy parka post-Katrina serious Anderson, and while he's great on the news, he's kind of a bummer on daytime.