Anderson Cooper 360: New time, new look, and that “new car smell”

Last night was the debut of Anderson Cooper’s new and improved 360 in the ten o’clock spot formerly anchored by Aaron Brown on NewsNight. One week later, Brown is gone and we switch from looking back to looking forward: Can Anderson do this? And is this show gonna make it?

The short answer: yes. As brother Brian at TVNewser notes, Anderson’s “vacation” was probably spent prepping for this new show (and opting not to comment on the Aaron Brown brouhaha). It was well-done, not too slick, with lots of content, a great marquee interview (John Edwards), and nice handling of the issues (particularly the “what the hell are the Dems doing now?” part — couldn’t help but agree with Hugh Hewitt on the national security points).

One interesting point: is it just me, or does the new 360 set look a lot like the Daily Show set? The funniest part is the big blue background which scrolls “Anderson Cooper 360” in huge lettering — check it out behind his head, and like a not-too-subtle subliminal message behind AndyCoop and John Edwards. Those kind of graphics are played up for humorous effect on TDS and “The Colbert Report”; but here it’s done in earnest. I can’t help liking Anderson’s shiny desk though. Pretty shiny pretty. Me and Jon Klein!

By the way, just because we’re looking forward doesn’t mean anything is forgotten: even if this show ends up being a fantastic hit it doesn’t excuse the way Klein treated Brown. Full stop, end of story. We appreciated the classy way he acknowledged Brown, particularly his own debt to Brown as a mentor “generous with his time, his attention, and his knowledge.” We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: being a mensch matters. Which, really, is how Anderson ended up in the anchor chair to begin with.

More news as always at TVNewser; CNN transcript here.

UPDATE: A reader writes in, citing Drudge: “CNN Anderson Cooper only debuted to 631,000 viewers from 10-12 PM ET on Monday . . . Cooper lost 42% of Larry King’s lead in (1,079,000 viewers) and the debut show was down 10% from what he & Aaron were averaging in October…” Obviously, ellipses are catching.

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