Back to the Future

Sometimes there’s a certain schizophrenic quality to CNN’s programming. They’ll bend over backwards to avoid traditional news coverage by airing documentaries about sex workers, marijuana, or whatever subject they think will attract viewers. Yet they’ll pre-empt these shows at the drop of a hat to pile on the saturation coverage of a missing plane, today’s snowstorm, or the travails of Bill Cosby.

The latest bit of fluffery ropes six CNN anchors into a game show hosted by Anderson Cooper. There’s no mole to be found here; it’s a quiz format, and one hopes it isn’t all about Bill Cosby’s girlfriends or the interaction of airplanes with black holes. CNN has posted a promo and, to be fair, it doesn’t look as embarrassing as some of the stuff Jeff Zucker has put on CNN’s air. For now it’s a one-shot special, but I think if it became a weekly primetime show that might be overdoing it a bit.

One of the three teams of two shown in the promo is Alisyn Camerota with Jake Tapper. Something Tapper said (with Alisyn on camera) caught our ear:

Unlike the other guys, we actually really like each other.

Why did that phrase sound so familiar? It harkens back to ten years ago:

And then there’s the not-so-subtle dig at the competition, taking advantage of gossip items about rivalries and backstabbing on the sets of the network morning programs: Underneath, in yellow, the ad reads: ‘And our people actually like each other.’

That TV Newser post dates from 2005 and describes an advertising push for a morning show called Fox & Friends. A show Alisyn was closely associated with during her 16 years at Fox News. Coincidence? Or a sly barb at Aly’s old stomping grounds? Chris Cuomo is also in the promo, and it’s a good thing they didn’t give him that line. That might stretch credibility a bit too far. For now, the show will give Anderson Cooper a chance to hone his quizmaster skills; you never know what opportunities may come his way.


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