“It’s TV, so it’s not real work,” Anderson Cooper prattled on happily at Summer TV Press Tour 2011, about his complete confidence in his ability to continue anchoring his nightly CNN show, while also doing his six segments a year for CBS newsmag “60 Minutes,” and -- starting Sept. 12 -- hosting a new daily talk show.
TV critics, columnists and bloggers, returning wearily to the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel after a day-long field trip to far-flung studios and networks, to hear actors talk about their Ideals and when best to tweet, were assured by Anderson that he will continue at the same pace to parachute into exotic locales for CNN, dressed in his keep-them-honest tight black T-shirt and jeans.
This, despite the demands of booking celebrities and big “gets” for his syndicated talk show, “Anderson” – not to be confused whit his CNN show, “AC360.”
“I’ve left just about every vacation I’ve ever had – after about three days I’m bored…I’d just as soon go somewhere and…tell a story,” Anderson preened.
“I tend now to use my weekends to shoot stuff I wouldn’t be able to shoot during the week.”
One critic noted that by being here, at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, he was missing his CNN show and a very big news story. It was unclear if the critic was referring to the debt-ceiling standoff in Washington, or the latest flare-up in the Did CNN Host Piers Morgan Allegedly Possibly Order Phone Hacks During His Fleet Street Days? story.
“There are always trade offs, but I felt you guys were worth it,” Anderson smiled.
“If I were away someplace, we could have [‘Anderson’] shows…that we would run or we could actually do live shows from an event I was at,” he said of the logistical challenges of his two TV careers, noting that, in the past year, he’s flown to Egypt, Japan and Joplin.
“ I’m not worried about it at all. It’s very doable because I manage my time really well.”
In fact, Anderson said, he already has plans for his next show -- “Anderson on Ice.”
On his new, syndicated, weekday talk show, Anderson said, he will not feature politicians and pundits; he will feature “real people talking about real situations” – and Lady Gaga.
Anderson told one critic he would break his lifelong rule about not reading what people wrote about him, to read their coverage of his sparkling conversation. His famous mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, he said, taught him at an early age, “never read anything about yourself.”
“It is a very difficult thing to do,” Anderson said, growing serious as he spoke of the people in their pajamas, drinking cocoa, who are “intent upon hurling whatever stuff they can at you.”
“I am successful about 70 percent of the time” he added.
“It’s good advice. It’s tough advice.”
But wait – at the start of his press-tour appearance, Anderson assured his captive audience that reading viewers’ tweets about him is “now the first thing I check in the morning,” because, “I like having that ongoing conversation.”
Growing up in the house of Gloria Vanderbilt was “hugely impactful” on his career path. Because of her connections, he noted, “I once was scheduled to appear in a [‘Wizard of Oz’] Munchkin outfit on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’.”
Plus, he revealed, “I also once appeared on ‘To Tell the Truth’ when I was 9…pretending to be the world’s youngest bear trainer.” He reports he fooled regular “Truth” truth-seeker Kitty Carlisle Hart – from which we can deduce the New York socialite/actress/celebrity was not on Gloria Vanderbilt’s Dinner Guest List.
Other famous people, however, were, and growing up surrounded by some of the brightest stars in the cultural firmament left Anderson utterly un-flapped by A-listers. At a young age, he explained, he learned they are “real people” and are “just as desperate as everyone else.”
This, he explained, freed him from the nagging urge to seek fame that afflicts so many others. And yet, listening to him talk on the opening day of press tour, you definitely got the feeling that if ever the day should come when people took away his TV shows, they might just as well hit him over the head with something hard and heavy, and make a clean job of it.