Trying to take advantage of the gaping hole left in afternoon syndicated programming with the impending departure of Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper today confirmed a Hollywood Reporter story that he is going to host a daytime talk show for Warner Bros. next fall.
The confirmation includes assurances that he will continue to host "Anderson Cooper 360" at CNN with a new contract. But the truth is that his numbers at 10 p.m. have been in serious decline, and almost no one in prime time at CNN knows what the future holds for them -- contract or no contract.
"Over the course of the past few years, I've had the opportunity to work on a number of daytime programs," Cooper told the Hollywood Reporter. "It's fun and interesting to work in daytime television. The format is unique and you can really go in-depth on a wide range of fascinating and compelling stories. With this new program I hope to relay important information and relate to people and the audience in a completely different way. It's an exciting opportunity to show another side of myself and create something worthwhile and special in daytime."
Cooper's 10 p.m. ratings at CNN are down 42 percent year to year, and they could even get worse. MSNBC debuted new 10 p.m. competition this week with Lawrence O'Donnell, and two new CNN shows will soon be leading into Cooper's program.
"Parker Spitzer," with Kathleen Parker and the baggage-laden Eliot Spitzer, takes over at 8 .m. starting next week, and Piers Morgan replaces Larry King at 9 p.m. early next year. Both could be big busts, and CNN prime time could be in even worse shape than it is now -- hard as that is to imagine.
As for Cooper, you tell me how his 10 p.m. hour is going to get better with him also taping a daytime show for syndication.
Greta Van Susteren, of Fox News, has come to own the 10 p.m. time period. She more than doubled O'Donnell on his debut Monday night, but O'Donnell handily beat Cooper.