Thursday, January 3, 2013


My wife and I planned to celebrate New Year's Eve in our usual fashion: a special dinner, Champagne and resolutions -- hers, to continue to  her spiritual growth; mine, to get a Lifestyle Lift -- followed by lights out at 10:15. Some may consider this dull, but I believe the Castilians would call us sin punta.  

This year we decided to throw caution to the wind and shoot for 12:05. Digital TV still being new enough to me, I forgot that I could pause broadcasts, thus missing out on the holiday-themed Another Thin Man on TCM. This left us with Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly, rather unfortunate choices with whom to ring in the new year, with personalities that make Guy Lombardo look like Keith Moon.

Seacrest, to be precise, proves that being the hardest-working man in show business doesn't make you interesting. As for Carson Daly, I'm convinced he's our generation's Louella Parsons, the woman who allegedly landed her lifetime newspaper gig by keeping her mouth shut after seeing William Randolph Hearst fatally shoot director Thomas Ince in 1924. Which NBC executive did Daly witness engaging in homicide? There's certainly no other explanation for his employment on network television.

And so we tuned to Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin doing their annual
Yes,  this is the Cable News Network.
Times Square broadcast on CNN. In case you haven't seen them, allow me to describe their shtick. For two and a half hours, Cooper plays straightman (ha!) to the self-described D-list celebrity. Unlike Seacrest and Daly, who feature Top-40 bands on their shows, over on CNN it's all about Kathy and Anderson.

When they're not gossiping about their vacations and silly photos they text to one another, Griffin jokes about her sex life and Cooper's genitalia. Cooper, in turn, giggles like a 12 year-old girl -- you know, just like Howard K. Smith and Walter Cronkite used to. Viewers' Tweets run on the bottom of the screen. Stuff like LUV KATHY AND COOP! and OMG CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT KATHY DOES NEXT! It's a freakshow, alright, one I look forward to with anticipation. What will this meta-Burns & Allen do this year to willingly obliterate whatever integrity Anderson Cooper has left -- or ever had?

Anderson Cooper's version of
"Person to Person."
We missed what might have been the breaking point. My wife's eyes finally shut around 11:30, while I hovered between consciousness and sleep until 11:50. The next thing I knew, I heard Sinatra singing, "... in a city that doesn't sleep..." I shut off the TV, strapped on the eye-shade and screwed in the earplugs. If only I waited a few more minutes, I would've seen Kathy Griffin kiss Anderson Cooper on the crotch. Twice. Fortunately, that's why God created YouTube. 

Anderson Cooper probably doesn't understand why this kind of thing might be considered a little outre for someone who's supposed to be a serious journalist. After all, as long as his three and a half million Twitter followers are OK with it, what's the prob?

I wonder if Cooper's CNN colleague Wolf Blitzer was watching, and what his reaction was. Or that of former CNN president Jonathan Klein, who once said, "All you have to do is watch Anderson night in and night out to know that he’s the preeminent journalist of his generation. It’s no wonder people try to attack him. He offers depth. He does real news, and he goes to where story is."   

Well, Kathy Griffin went to where the story was, anyway, with lips puckered. If nothing else, it was certainly swell promotion for her series on Bravo. Anderson Cooper, on the other hand, is facing a new boss, Jeff Zucker, who is said to be replacing him with former Today co-anchor Ann Curry. Under the new regime, Cooper would be a "roving correspondent." Would he return in time for New Year's Eve? Or will Ann Curry take his place and allow a D-list male comedian to make jokes about her genitalia and kiss her on the crotch? OMG, cannot wait!

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