I’ve always been a fan of Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper, both together and apart. I’ve loved Griffin’s celebrity-poking stand-up acts, her D-list dramas, and her new chat show, which mashes up real people with celebrities to surprisingly good effect. Whether he’s reporting real news, rescuing a kid from getting pummeled in Haiti, or just giggling over pee jokes on “Anderson 360” (still love that clip), Anderson Cooper is no slouch, either. Even his short-lived talk show was pretty good.
Together on New Year’s Eve, they’ve proved to be more than the sum of their parts as they counted down the moments in Times Square. He, a slightly prudish foil; she, a merry prankster with a potty mouth who lived to make him blush. The only tiresome part has been CNN vowing repeatedly to bar Griffin from returning after she said or did something offensive, only to bring her back as if she might actually play nice the next time. Like we ever expected nice.
Now comes word from Deadline Hollywood that Anderson and Griffin are filming a pilot for an hour-long show at the CNN Studios in Time Warner Center in New York. Not many details are known, but the show reportedly has “a lot of humor in it” and the pilot is being filmed in front of a live audience.
If this project gets picked up (and if CNN has somehow sorted out how to get a regular commitment from Griffin, who’s sort of busy with her own talk show on Bravo), I’d definitely tune in — or, I should say, I’d tune in at least once.
If this is a daytime chat show (I’m guessing it can’t be a nighttime chat show, given that Griffin would be competing with herself), I’m a little worried. As much as I love both of these personalities, the field of daytime is littered with high profile failures who went dashing into the void left by Oprah and came up short. Jeff Probst, Nate Berkus, and Ricki Lake have all been handed walking papers, and those that remain aren’t necessarily home runs. Katie Couric’s show is uneven at best, Steve Harvey tends to delve into Maury territory more often than I’d like, and after a week or two Dr. Oz makes me fairly certain I’d dying of something. The crown should just be handed to Ellen Degeneres and we can all be done with it.
Cooper has also tried and failed to find chat show success on his own, but I wonder if adding the X factor that is Griffin might make the difference. Watching Cooper on New Year’s Eve solo felt kind of like watching Tom Brokow lecture on history to guide people into the New Year. Edifying, maybe, but not a lot of fun. Cooper can never keep a straight face when Griffin is around, and that’s for the best. And given that he, by his own description, giggles like a 13-year-old girl, there’s definitely potential for a good time. And there’s no reason to believe this is necessarily a chat show. With Griffin on board, it could go in directions we haven’t even considered yet.
While I’m not expecting CNN to bring cutting edge entertainment, an on-screen pair with the right chemistry is always welcome (goodness knows we can’t find it from the bland talking heads on all the entertainment news programs). I hope this pilot makes it to air. At the very least, I know my friend John, a far more devoted fan than myself, will totally plotz.
Would you watch Kathy and Anderson? Do you think they’ll be doing a chat show or something different? Do you watch them on New Year’s Eve?