For those unfamiliar with Canadian TV gabfests, it’s hard to properly convey just how much of a baffling evening void George Stroumboulopoulos filled with CBC’s The Hour. All manner of hosts and experiments were attempted before his arrival, with none able to find success the way “Strombo” finally did.
Another element distinguishing Stroumboulopoulos from his Canadian predecessors is that he has been given the opportunity to carry over his casual brand of talk to the international airwaves of CNN. In a brief Q&A with Reuters LA entertainment reporter Piya Sinha-Roy, Stroumboulopoulos outlines two golden rules for his Sunset & Cahuenga export – no set lists of questions and no publicist-driven exceptions:
“I do ask questions that they [the guests] don’t want to answer, but they have to answer them, and if they don’t want to answer then we’re not the show for them. There’s a lot of great places for people to go where they can control the conversation. We’re not that show. I want this to be a grown-up conversation.”
“I’ve interviewed Hillary Clinton and President [Jimmy] Carter and they didn’t have any restrictions. So if they didn’t have any restrictions – and [Carter] had to deal with a hostage crisis – no one gets restrictions.”
Maybe he should call this the “Clinton-Carter rule.” Stroumboulopoulos debuts on CNN Sunday June 16 with guests Keanu Reeves, Martin Short and Wiz Khalifa before moving to a regular summer time slot of Fridays at 11 p.m. Future guests will include HBO Friday night kindred spirit Bill Maher.