‘Anderson’ Debuts with Sad Story of Amy Winehouse

by | September 12, 2011 at 5:23 PM | TV News

Anderson Cooper (Photo: Getty Images)

Anderson Cooper (Photo: Getty Images)

What? No paternity tests or fistfights?

Well, not yet anyway. It remains to be seen if Anderson Cooper will ever reach the point where he relies on those staples of daytime “talk” (as the word is applied for the likes of “Maury” and “Jerry Springer,” at least) to boost his ratings.

We doubt the silver fox of CNN — who’s well-known for his journalistic integrity (and work ethic) — will ever stoop to paternity tests and brawls. Instead, if the premiere of his new syndicated daytime talk show Monday is any indication, Cooper plans on actually talking on his talk show. As he said in his introduction, he intends to maintain conversations; whether they’re serious, funny or in-between will depend on the guests and, to some extent, on him.

For his first show, the subject matter was deadly serious as Coop hosted Mitch and Janis Winehouse, the divorced parents of the late Amy Winehouse. The hour played like a CNN documentary on the singer — with loads of background information and videotape of Amy being interviewed, performing on stage or stumbling aimlessly down some London street.

Winehouse died in July at age 27. Everybody assumed she died of some kind of complications from her years of heavy drug and alcohol use. On “Anderson” (that’s the cozy name they chose for Cooper’s talk show), Amy’s dad insisted she didn’t have any drugs in her system. Whatever.

The main point of the hour was not necessarily to set the record straight on Amy’s drug use since there seems to be some differences of opinion about whether she was or wasn’t using at the time of her death.

Instead, the point seemed to be to watch her parents cry, which proved easy to bring about. All “Anderson” had to do was show home video of Amy as a little girl and the tears flowed. In some television circles, producing tears is like striking gold. For his part, Cooper maintained his composure when they lost theirs.

The truth is: Cooper did a fine job with the material he was handed on Day One of this new daytime experiment. The guy’s a pro and handling a couple of interviews like this is old hat for him. Our own reaction to the first show was that it was regrettable that he chose such a dark subject for his debut on such a lovely day in September.

Our guess is, “Anderson” will alternate between the serious and the ridiculist, er, ridiculous. As if to prove our point, on Tuesday’s show, his guest will be Kathy Griffin, the tireless comedian who is so easy to book that she’d show up for the opening of an envelope (as the old saying goes). According to the “Anderson” Web site, Coop will sunbathe with Griffin and get a spray tan with Snooki. Now that’s more like it!

We were intrigued by the opening of “Anderson” — which had Cooper on a bicycle pedaling to the Time Warner Center in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle with what must have been a camera mounted on the handlebars and aimed backwards at his face, which filled the screen as he talked about what we’ll see on the show to come.

We had no idea Anderson Cooper was such a fun-loving risk-taker! Here he was distractedly riding a bike through heavy Manhattan traffic while speaking into a TV camera, and all the while not wearing a helmet.

Tsk, tsk.


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