Is Anderson Cooper Being Groomed To Be The Next Larry King?

Larry King’s current contract with CNN runs through next June, but his news/interview format has been a mainstay with the network for 25 years.

As another star at the network, Anderson Cooper, begins a run of “specials,” could it be a chance for the 10pmET host to explore a format similar to King’s?

Cindy Adams dropped a hint about “CNN adding a nightly talk show” for Cooper, and TVNewser quoted a CNN insider explaining the item as “doing a few specials on Fridays at 11pm later this spring.”

So, not exactly a nightly talk show, but it could be an interesting platform for Cooper to flex his talk/news muscles. It’s something we’ve seen from the CNN host in other arenas – whether guest hosting for Regis Philbin on Regis & Kelly, a role he fills regularly, to even lighter fare. Cooper often seems as comfortable in situations devoid of hard news as he is when he’s reporting from Haiti or focusing on political issues.

It is this crossover appeal and talent that make him a great candidate for continuing the unique format King started. For years, Larry King was the king of cable news – until Fox News and Bill O’Reilly came along to take the crown. The program remains a mainstay in CNN’s prime time line-up. The numbers have fallen off and Fox News and the louder format of prime time has been proven to win out in this current political climate, but it’s still a type of show worthwhile to have on cable news.

Cooper provides the interview acumen and ability to move between types of news to fill this role. His critics will say the soft news portions of both 360 and his outside appearances diminish his serious correspondent assignments or serious political focus. But in this media world where hosts like Glenn Beck can transition from funny radio guy to serious TV show host to children’s book author, all on the same day, no one needs to be boxed into one format anymore.

Whether these specials give Cooper a chance, an hour after 360, to explore the lighter side of news, or provide a platform for more in-depth interviews, we’ll find out shortly. But it could signal an opportunity for Cooper to expand his journalistic role with the network – and eventually slide into a ‘Larry King Plus’-like role.

• One thing Larry King probably won’t do – swim with sharks, which Cooper does in a 60 Minutes report airing Sunday:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

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This Exists: SoulPancake.com Turns Internet Into Smoke-Filled Dorm Room

Good news! The Internet now provides us all with yet another new way to shout our half-baked opinions into the vacuum of space.

SoulPancake, a site devised by Office actor Rainn Wilson and two friends, is, like Formspring, a way for users to post and answer questions anonymously. However, unlike many of these opinion type websites, SoulPancake doesn’t want you to ask questions about your friends’ favorite bands or sex lives. It wants you to ask questions about…well, everything, man.

That’s right, Soul Pancake is here to provide a safe place for users to ask big questions and answer (or at least mull) life’s big mysteries. You know, the mysteries that keep college freshmen up late at night after watching Donnie Darko.

Probably best to let the site describes itself:

SoulPancake is “a MOVEMENT to wrestle with and chew on LIFE’S BIG QUESTIONS. It’s a way to EXPLORE why we believe the things that we believe. It’s a place for you to TALK about your soul and the existence of God. It’s a space to ENGAGE in art, philosophy, creativity, truth, and beauty.”

Whoa, dude. Of course, this could all easily dissolve into a puddle of pretentiousness but it doesn’t, fortunately, because the site designers seem to have instilled everything with a light spirit and subtle sense of humor. The clever text on the sign up form and the cute drawings in the margins of every page keep it all feeling fun instead of suffocating. Still though, the more cynical of users will quickly be turned off by many of the questions posted in what the site calls “The Question Collective”. A sample query currently heating up discussion reads, “Had you known what life would be like, its ups and downs, would you wanna live it?”

Double whoa, dude.

Personally, we think it’s a bit early in the day to be tackling questions like that, but for all of you out there eating your lunch and wondering if there are tiny universes inside your bagel where tiny people are eating their own little bagels which have their own universes with even smaller bagels, I’d say give the site a shot. The popularity of Wilson’s Twitter feed should give it some solid traffic and, really, who wouldn’t love to live in a world where people with silly user names solve all the world’s problems on a site named after a delicious breakfast food.


Bill O’Reilly’s Repeat Tops Rest Of FNC Prime Time Wednesday

Cable news ratings, March 24, 2010: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

Bill O’Reilly had the top cable news show again Wednesday night in the A25-54 demographic and total viewers. But his 11pmET repeat topped FNC’s 9 and 10pmET hours in the demo as well. Glenn Beck was #2 in both categories.

• The top non-FNC show was Rachel Maddow’s 9pmET hour in total viewers, and Countdown the hour before in the demo.

John King, USA lost viewers in demo and total viewers again – remaining in 3rd place at the 7pmET hour.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

776

Blitzer

120

Matthews

57

Prime

76

6 pm Baier

565

Blitzer

129

Ed Show

119

Prime

80

7 pm Shep

436

King, USA

132

Matthews

241

Issues

148

8 pm O’Reilly

885

Brown

140

Olbermann

402

Grace

330

9 pm Hannity

629

King

117

Maddow

398

Behar

174

10 pm Greta

627

Cooper

196

Olbermann

262

Grace

215

11 pm O’Reilly

633

Cooper

181

Maddow

239

Showbiz

225

TOTAL DAY 438 132 156 161
PRIME TIME 2829 151 354 235
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

2641

Blitzer

631

Matthews

548

Prime

231

6 pm Baier

2126

Blitzer

574

Ed Show

620

Prime

196

7 pm Shep

1825

King, USA

629

Matthews

811

Issues

372

8 pm O’Reilly

3624

Brown

642

Olbermann

1427

Grace

875

9 pm Hannity

2450

King

561

Maddow

1490

Behar

769

10 pm Greta

2405

Cooper

777

Olbermann

791

Grace

458

11 pm O’Reilly

1884

Cooper

576

Maddow

677

Showbiz

542

TOTAL DAY 1578 506 552 367
PRIME TIME 2829 660 1236 686
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.


David Frum Says He Was Fired Because Of His ‘Waterloo’ Column

It did seem a tad coincidental. Just days after penning his much talked about ‘Waterloo’ column (as in HCR was the GOP’s Waterloo) conservative thinker and former Bush administration official was fired from his $100,000/yeah job at the American Enterprise Institute, where he’d been since 2003. The firing apparently came as much as a surprise to Frum as it did to everyone else. No room for reality checks on the right? went much of the speculation.

Frum, who was supposed to appear on Countdown last night and canceled, unloaded to Politco’s Mike Allen instead, asserting that it was “donor pressure” following the ‘Waterloo’ post that led to his dismissal. From Politico:

‘There’s a lot about the story I don’t really understand,’ Frum said from his iPhone. ‘But the core of the story is the kind of economic pressure that intellectual conservatives are under. AEI represents the best of the conservative world. [AEI President] Arthur Brooks is a brilliant man, and his books are fantastic. But the elite isn’t leading anymore. It’s trapped. Partly because of the desperate economic situation in the country, what were once the leading institutions of conservatism are constrained. I think Arthur took no pleasure in this. I think he was embarrassed. I think he would have avoided it if he possibly could, but he couldn’t.’

So perhaps the economic state of journalism these days more than the state of the GOP. More from Allen.

We talked at length afterward with an AEI official in an effort to get a specific response to Frum’s charge. But the group apparently doesn’t want to get into a back-and-forth with Frum, and stuck to this earlier statement from Brooks, blaming Frum for his departure: ‘David Frum is an original thinker and a friend to many at AEI. We are pleased to have welcomed him as a colleague for seven years, and his decision to leave in no way diminishes our respect for him.’

This is followed by some speculation that perhaps the real problem was how little time Frum spent at the office. Though the timing is really just too convenient for that to be anything more than a small contributing factor.


Rachel Maddow Takes Out Full-Page Ad To Declare Non-Campaign Against Scott Brown

Think Scott Brown is regretting his imaginary campaign against Rachel Maddow yet? Maddow has been on a rampage these past few nights after discovering that Brown had not only not rescinded his initial fund-raising email declaring her his opponent, but had refused to acknowledge the falseness of it during a talk radio (or even bothered to call her to confirm it in the first place). All this after Maddow spent a segment of the show denying she had any intention of running for office….ever.

Last night Maddow unveiled her anti-Maddow campaign ad to aid Brown in his “fake campaign” and then followed it up this morning by running a full page ad in the Boston Globe to reconfirm she’s still not running. One two SNAP.

Here’s the thing about the letter, though, it’s more political than funny. Actually, there’s one or two grafs (the 5th and 6th to be exact) in there that, dare we say it, sound a teeny bit platformy. I know Rachel Maddow is not running for office. Not not not. However, if she ever deep, deep down wanted to test the waters this would certainly be a grand way to do so. Meanwhile, how long till the Maddow, Brown sitdown interview? I think he may have painted himself into a bit of a corner here. Text of the letter below.

“Hi, I’m Rachel Maddow. I host a TV show on MSNBC. I also live in Western Massachusetts, in the beautiful hilltowns of Hampshire County.

“This week, our new U.S. Senator, Scott Brown, sent a fundraising letter that says I’m running against him for Senate when he’s up for re-election in 2012.

“I’m not running against Scott Brown. I never said I was running against Scott Brown. The Massachusetts Democratic Party never asked me to run against Scott Brown. It’s just not true. Honestly. I swear. No, really.

“Senator Brown never even tried to find out if it was true, before using the made-up threat of me running against him, to try to scare donors into giving him more money. He sent the letter all around the country, to the out-of-state conservative activists who provided so much of the funding for his successful Senate campaign.

“Do you remember when Mitt Romney ran for President after being our Governor and he went around the country insulting Massachusetts, talking about what an awful state we are? To have our new Senator raising money around the country by saying how terrible one of his Massachusetts constituents is, kind of feels the same way to me.

“It’s standard now for conservatives to invent scary fake threats to run against — things like the made-up ‘death panels’ in health reform, or the fake controversy about the president’s birth certificate. Senator Scott Brown’s only been in DC seven weeks, but he already seems to be fitting right in with how conservatives operate there.

“I’m running this ad not because I’m running against Scott Brown — I’m not, he made that up — but because he’s the Senator for all of us, and maybe this will make him think twice the next time he wants to smear one of his constituents to raise money out-of-state.

“My show airs at 9PM Eastern in Massachusetts on MSNBC. So far, Scott Brown refuses to come on. Maybe he’ll change his mind — I hope he does.

“Sincerely,

“Rachel Maddow”


Glenn Beck-James Cameron Feud Gets The Red Eye (And Robot) Treatment

After Avatar director James Cameron went off on Fox News host Glenn Beck for something he said three years ago, Beck responded on his show.

Last night the Red Eye team weighed in on the debate (and brought back the robots).

Host Greg Gutfeld joked that Cameron “took the ultimate risk – [calling] Glenn Beck an effing a-hole.”

“You know you’re doing something right if you’re pissing off an incredibly successful director,” he said. “This guy’s been thinking about this for three years or so.”

Musician Andrew W.K. was firmly on Team Beck. “I think James Cameron is jealous of Glenn Beck,” he said, noting that although Cameron is a hugely successful director, Beck may be the bigger star personally.

Then it was time to imagine a conversation between James Cameron and his producer – as told by robots. An example:

Cameron: People who deny global warming are bad people and should probably die.
Producer: It’s like denying the awesomeness of James Cameron.
Cameron: Also, people who haven’t seen Avatar should die.

A showdown between Beck and Cameron was discussed, but the likelihood is pretty low – although once tickle fights become a topic on Beck’s Fox News show I guess anythign is possible.

Here’s the clip from last night (robots around the 5-minute mark):

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