Hey, Cuomo’s wearing the same dark suit every night! That’s something the country’s club of media watchers didn’t say back in January, when CNN host Chris Cuomo was doing a so-called “tryout” to move his long-form interview game to an evening slot.
We missed something. During a recent edition of “The Axe Files,” a podcast hosted by David Axelrod, Cuomo revealed his rather transparent secret. When Axelrod asked about the title of “Cuomo Prime Time,” which will begin airing at 9 p.m. Eastern time on CNN later in the spring, Cuomo responded that none of the “trappings” of the program matter.
“I wore the same thing the entire month I did the tryout,” said Cuomo during the podcast, presented by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN. “I wore the same outfit every night. Nobody said a damn thing . . . except my wife, but that’s nothing new. So I think all the trappings don’t matter. You just gotta go in there, do the job, get after it and do it every night.”
Video history bears out Cuomo’s claim about the prime-time uniform. Here he was on January 15:
January . . . well, you get the idea. “Black suit, white shirt, black tie. Serious, simple, sincere,” noted Cuomo, who likes a “standard look.” Such a look would appear to represent an evolution for Cuomo, who helped CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker mold the network’s morning program “New Day” into a hard-news mainstay. When Cuomo talked about his physique with the New York Times, he said this about his clothing: “I have almost zero interest in what I wear except that it just has to be different from the day before. My wife will take stuff from my closet and add stuff sometimes. I generally only wear white shirts and blue shirts, and dark blue and dark gray suits. The shoes I wear are very simple, and I shine them myself two to three times a week. I do a light buff, no spit shine. It’s not too flashy.”
Twitter user @sml41 — “Steve Lambert” — pushed the anchor about this matter last summer:
The “standard look” is a fine look, though the Erik Wemple Blog must quibble with the lesson Cuomo appears to have drawn from his plunge into sartorial predictability. No, it doesn’t mean people don’t care about the “trappings” of a cable-news program. It means that a man can get away with workplace shenanigans that women would never contemplate.
“Wearing the same outfit to host two different shows in one day would’ve caused World War 3,” noted Juliet Huddy, who formerly worked as a host at Fox News, as well as WNYW, a Fox affiliate in New York.
Asked about the gender dimensions of his same-outfit thing, Cuomo conceded in an email that “women are, of course, exposed to exponentially more objectification including what they wear.”
E.D. Hill, who worked on the “Fox & Friends” set for nearly a decade, quipped, “I hope somebody watches him often enough to notice that he’s wearing the same thing. If they don’t, that’s kind of sad.”