Posts Tagged CNN

Parker/Spitzer – Thanks But No Thanks

            I eagerly waited for the new Kathleen Parker/ Eliot Spitzer show on CNN. I thought that these two talented and knowledgeable people could pull it off; however, I was wrong. For some strange reason the suits at CNN seem to think that every show has to have some silliness involved to hold our attention. Wrong. Silly is just that, silly.

            Having several short segments doesn’t work either. If you are going to discuss a topic then discuss it. These segments are more like promos or teasers. The most annoying thing is having people talk over each other. Nothing is gained by this. It is just plain frustrating and boring. It’s what killed Crossfire. If you are going to have guests who are important to listen to, then treat them like guests who are important to listen to. I am not interested in the least about what your guilty pleasure is. My feeling is that the fault lies in the offices of the network. These are the same people who brought us Rick Sanchez and his never ending bloviating.

            Putting on my communication consultant hat, the program violates almost every rule of effective communication. Entertainment at its best is good communication. There are too many topics, too many segments, no real focal point, too much silliness and too many guests whose time is wasted. I don’t know how long CNN is prepared to stay with this turkey, but in my mind it will be gone long before Thanksgiving.

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Katie Would Look Great in Suspenders

Katie CouricWhen Larry King leaves CNN later this year, we will lose the best interviewer on television. Larry has the unique ability and trained skill among the current crop of television interviewers to listen to his guest. He never tries to embarrass the guest or upstage him or her. He says, “I leave my ego at home.” His interviews do not become shouting matches.

Over these many years I have watched and listened as he interviewed everyone from Billy Graham to Lady Gaga and I have admired his ability. He never becomes the show. Sometimes he does drool a little too much with some of the more glamorous stars and fawns a little too much over some athlete that no one cares about; however, if he were in one of my courses on communication he would definitely get an A. When the interview is over, I usually know what the guest thinks. Larry is a professing Jew, and he treats Billy Graham with tremendous respect. He is nuts about Nancy Reagan and he treats Hillary Clinton with the same respect. Even with someone like Netanyahu, who is determined not to say anything of the slightest importance, Larry turns in a good performance.

Katie Couric is the most logical successor to Larry. Katie is an excellent interviewer and given the relaxed nature of a show like Larry’s, she would become even better. Like Larry she knows everyone and is respected by everyone except perhaps Sarah Palin. She knows how to listen and how to follow-up. She puts the interviewee at ease and creates a good atmosphere.

CNN is having its troubles and the departure of Larry will make matters worse for them. The top brass at the cable network would help their cause if they worked out a way to get Katie. I realize that the night belongs to the shouters and the constant conspiracy theorists not to mention the barrage of personality assassins, but so far CNN has proved a voice of reason. CNN should allow Katy to choose the guests. She has all the right contacts and knows who and what matters.

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