Former Fox and Friends Weekend co-host Dave Briggs knows he is raising some eyebrows by heading to CNN as the new co-host of Early Start. Briggs, who goes on air tomorrow morning on CNN, has many conservative friends who he communicates with on a regular basis, and he says their reactions to the move “have been mixed.”
“What I tell them is: ‘Look, since my first contact with CNN in 1999 as a college kid working as a runner for $10 an hour, that red logo to me has represented the unfiltered truth delivered by the best journalists in the world,'” Briggs told TVNewser in an interview this morning. “It’s almost 20 years later and I’m making slightly more than $10 an hour, but that’s still my perception. It hasn’t changed over all of these years. I don’t think anyone here has changed, and that always will be the standard.”
TVNewser: You moved from cable news to sports television in late 2012. Now, after 4 years, you’re back in cable news. Why the move?
Briggs: I love sports and it’s always going to be a part of me, but I realized that I don’t want it to be THAT much a part of me. I think my real passion lies in news and politics, and the last couple of years I have been sitting and watching and wishing I could weigh in and be a part of the political debate. I have spent the past year or two hoping there was an opportunity to get back.
TVNewser: CNN is criticized by the President of the United States almost daily. Have you prepared yourself for the possibility of him bringing up Early Start? He is an early bird, after all.
Briggs: I’m very aware of the possibility of that happening. We have to remember that before he was president, Donald Trump was a storyteller, and he’s a good one. He knows that every narrative needs a bad guy. Look at the best seasons of The Apprentice. His best villain now works in his administration (Omarosa Manigault of Season 1). When you have a Republican senate and a Republican house as your congress, you still need a villain. So, I think he picked his favorite news network to be that villain!
TVNewser: You co-hosted Fox and Friends Weekend with Alisyn Camerota, and now your program will now lead into her’s. What advice has she given you as you embark on your new gig?
Briggs: We never lost touch. When we worked together at Fox, the three of us together with Clayton Morris weren’t just co-hosts, we were great friends. We were family. We knew each other’s kids. Over that time, she actually moved to my town of Westport, Connecticut. We have stayed in touch as friends and as neighbors. When she came to CNN, I kept in communication with her. I have always respected CNN, but hearing what she said about the environment, about her co-workers, and about her bosses made me want to work here more. She also warned me: “You have to be willing to work really hard.” I said: “Honestly, I’m really itching for that because that hasn’t really been the case the past couple of years.” I’m excited for the opportunity to work my tail off.
TVNewser: What are some of your interests, off-camera?
Briggs: One of the opportunities that comes about when you don’t have a really busy schedule, which I haven’t the last several years, is that I get to spend a lot of time with my kids. My hobby is whatever my kids want to do. If I’m not [at work], I’m with them. I’ll drop them off at school, I’ll pick them up, I’ll take them to practice and play sports with my son. I’ll sit and watch TV shows with my daughter or read them books. Aside from work, that’s my passion. And I spend a lot of time working out as well, which I’m sure they complain a lot about.
TVNewser: Some say that politics is a sport (for better or worse). You’re a sports guy. What sport would you compare it to?
Briggs: Well, it would have to be a bloody one. I worked in Boston covering the Red Sox, and I would say that the passion that Boston sports fans view their team with is similar to the passions you see in politics. That’s on the sidelines. Now when it comes to between the lines, it has to be hockey. These guys, while they pummel each other on the ice everyday, they sometimes get to be great friends away from all of that. Sometimes, they can communicate very well with each other once the cameras are gone. It’s a punishing, brutal, entertaining sport, like hockey. Again, I think the way Boston fans are both critical and supportive of their teams, politics ignites those passions in all of us. It’s a lot like Red Sox nation.