First Mover: Anderson Cooper

The CNN news anchor on his move to daytime talk

What prompted your move to daytime TV?

At the age of 44, I felt like I wanted to get more out of life. And laugh more and learn more and get more out of each day. And I want that for viewers as well. It allows me to go in-depth on topics which don’t necessarily fit on a newscast.

Has working with Oprah and Regis fueled your desire to do your own daytime program?

I don’t know that it fueled it. It made me understand the connection one can have with viewers, and it’s a very satisfying connection. It can be a very real and authentic and human connection. And I like that.

It’s hard to imagine Morley Safer doing a daytime program.

Yeah, it’s interesting, you know Morley Safer paints. And I think he has a lot of other interests other than what he does on 60 Minutes. And what he does on 60 Minutes is a wide variety of stuff, from hard news to amazingly written travel pieces. I think viewers realize that people are a lot more three-dimensional than TV has traditionally portrayed them, particularly in news.

But the fact that anchors are crossing that line between news and personal interest—that is a new phenomenon.

To me there are still lines and there should be. And what I do on CNN is completely different from what I’m going to be doing in daytime. I plan to be myself. I poke fun at myself, I talk about what I don’t know as much as what I do know. And I’m not pretending to have all the answers.

What types of guests will you have on the show?

A big celebrity interview one day to a provocative social issue the next day. And talking to real people who are behind the headlines. Real people who are facing real challenges.

What news story is most underreported?

The war in Afghanistan is underreported. Men and women are fighting and dying there. And the conditions they’re operating under are tremendously difficult. And you come away with this respect for how hard they’re working. People don’t seem to be tuning in to see those stories, and I think it makes it easier for news organizations not to cover it.

What news story do you most wish you had covered?

No one else will really care, but I missed the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Also the war in Chechnya.

How do you fit into the 60 Minutes culture as a contributor?

I still feel like I’m learning a lot and have a lot to learn and improve on. And there’s no better place to learn than at 60 minutes.

You get a lot of attention yourself from Gawker and outlets like that. How do you keep from becoming the story?

I don’t worry about it too much. I like going to a scene and blending in and making people comfortable so that they begin to talk and tell me their story.

You don’t read Gawker?

No. I mean, I know the stuff that’s out there because there are PR people who give me a heads-up if there’s some big drama happening. But I don’t care. There are a lot of young writers who want to make a name for themselves, and I totally get it.

Favorite reality show?

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. There’s a lot of really great Housewives: Atlanta and New Jersey as well.

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