Anderson, the new Telepictures-produced daytime talker debuting Sept. 12, will be distinguished in daytime by its honesty. So say the powers behind the show in a sit down with B&C prior to meeting with a group of television critics during the Television Critics Association summer press tour Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton.
"Smart, honest, provocative. Those are three words I keep coming back to," Anderson Cooper told B&C Tuesday. "In daytime you can have an emotional connection, a very real human connection. It's personally satisfying and I think that translates on television. And for me it's one of the huge motivations in doing this," says Cooper who will executive produce along with Jim Murphy and Lisa Morin.
"In news it can often seem kind of one dimensional, but in daytime you have the ability to show yourself in a more well-rounded way, a more multi-dimensional way." When asked how much of his personal experience in life he is willing to share, he said, "As a news person it would seem kind of odd if I am inserting myself, but daytime is completely different. Those things happen organically. I don't think those are things you should plan too much or think about too much. But when they are real and it comes up naturally and authentic, it just occurs," Cooper said. "I look forward to it."
When asked about his personal life and how much he wants to discuss it on the show, he first joked "I'm totally stumped by your question. No, I'm kidding. Obviously, people are interested and I totally get that," Cooper said. "At this point I don't talk about my private life. I've been doing news for 20 years and there is no real reason. It doesn't seem appropriate in the news business. But as things change, we'll see where the show goes. It's not something I really thought about whether I'll talk about or not. We'll see what happens."
As for the content of the show itself, Murphy, Morin, Cooper and Telepictures Production President Hilary Estey McLoughlin agreed the aim is to offer a range of topics and emotion viewers can't get anywhere else.
"The range is something that would fill the void now with Oprah leaving," Estey McLoughlin said. "The emotional range, the ability to cover different points of view, that's something that will define the show."
Expect to see some of Cooper's playful side. "We'll have a variety of the silly stuff but also the serious stuff and celeb stuff," Cooper said. "That's how people are. They're interested in a lot of different things. Some days they just want to laugh at something, some days they just want to gain more info. So you want something that reflects that."
An admitted reality TV fan, Cooper even watched the short-lived Telepictures show Hot or Not. "I've moved on to a whole other echelon of cheesy reality shows. The Beverly Hills housewives are hard to beat."
Why not Real Housewives of New York? "Countess LuAnn, I can't watch," Cooper said. "People who use the word 'class' and not in reference to an actual classroom - I just can't listen to them."
Indeed, Estey McLoughlin said, "Absolutely." Housewives are the type of celebrity guest you might see on the show. Along with the serious topics too, of course.
Morin's hopes for the show are that it's "fresh and unexpected and doesn't feel so produced," she said, adding she hopes people tune in "because they won't know what to expect. And people will see a different side of Anderson."
Murphy's hopes are that Anderson is "successful, long-running and always interesting."