Anderson Cooper: “You’re Going to See More of Who I Am”

If Anderson Cooper isn’t already one of the busiest journalists working in television today, he’s certainly about to be: on September 12, Cooper kicks off Anderson, his daytime talk show.

While sitting in the Beverly Hilton for the summer edition of the Television Critics Association press tour, however, Cooper repeatedly assured the assembled TV critics that he’s up to the task of maintaining a day job while still doing his duties at CNN in the evening and occasionally contributing to CBS’s 60 Minutes.

“You know, I manage my time really well,” said Cooper. “The schedule of this show, we’re taping it and shooting it in the same building where I work at CNN, in New York. I think it’s all very do-able. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I like working hard. I’ve been working hard for a long time now.”

With a grin, Cooper added, “Plus, it’s TV. So it’s not like it’s real work.”

Later, as the assembled journalists were enjoying cocktails with Cooper in the courtyard, he shrugged and laughed when asked jokingly if he felt guilty for, in his own small way, contributing to America’s unemployment problem by taking on yet another gig.

“We all think about this sort of golden age of television where people are just doing one thing, but I’m a obsessive student of television, and if you go to the Museum of Broadcasting and you look at the old Edward R. Murrow broadcasts, he was doing Person to Person and See It Now,” he said. “There’s just more opportunity now for people in television to branch out. My rule is always, as long as it’s a real reflection of who I am and what I’m interested in, and you’re coming to it from a genuine place of trying to learn things and trying to understand things better, then there’s no reason not to try it.”

Unsurprisingly, the topic of Cooper’s personal life was brought up during the course of conversation, specifically whether or not he would be willing to discuss more about himself in this new forum.

“Is there any interest in that?” said Cooper, with mock naiveté. “I’m kidding. Whatever happens organically happens organically, and as long as it’s organic to what we’re doing and wherever the show’s going, then I think it’s fine. I mean, to me, it’s not a big deal, and it’s not something I think about or think out or plan out. I just… I think we’ll see how things go. Obviously, given the kind of topics we’re going to be covering, you’re going to be seeing more of my personality, more of who I am. Certainly, this is a format where you’re asking people to talk about themselves, and there’s a two-way street, and I understand that.”

At one point, when Cooper was asked if there was anything that he didn’t like or want people saying about him, he indicated a general annoyance with opinions being cited as fact. So how, then AfterElton.com later asked, does he feel about being placed on, say, a list of the Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America?

“You know, people make lists all the time in magazines,” he said. “The lists don’t really mean anything. It’s about selling magazines. And I get that.”

Yes, but surely it still means something to appear on AfterElton’s Hot 100 five years in a row…?

“You know, I’ve seen that,” Cooper said, laughing. “Yes, of course, who wouldn’t be flattered? Although – and I think I said this at one point – I have scrawny little chicken legs, so I don’t know what all the fuss is about. As long as I keep the legs covered up, I think I’m okay.”

Cooper has every reason to believe that his daytime show will be just as GLBT-friendly as the work he does in the evenings. “I do a lot of gay and lesbian issues on the CNN show, so certainly there’s a lot to talk about, and certainly a lot of issues for us to cover,” he said. “Had we been on the air with gay marriage in New York, it would’ve been great to have an audience where everybody had just been married. As someone who works at CNN, I try not to express opinion, but, you know, certainly to see all these couples who’ve been together – for decades, in some cases – marrying, it was incredibly emotional. And it was, for them, incredibly emotional.”

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