David Carr is having nightmares about Anderson Cooper.
The New York Times media columnist wrote his most recent piece about Cooper’s new daytime show, and it appears that though he is a fan of Cooper’s, Carr is not so enthralled with “Anderson.”
He opens the column by claiming he has been dreaming about Cooper, but that dream is the reality of daytime talk, and Carr wants to know whether the CNN host can maintain his news credibility while spending his days discussing the merits of plush toilet paper.
Can a man “who braved the chaotic warfare in Somalia, was punched around in Egypt and stood waist deep in the fetid flood waters of Katrina,” wade “through the dreck of daytime talk without sliming the rest of his career”?
Carr doesn't try to answer his own question, but he does express his reservations about Cooper's attempt.
He suggests Cooper could have mixed his interest in lowbrow culture like the “Real Housewives” series into his evening news show.
"A daytime show requires more than an enormous commitment; there is a bottomless need to find content for 180-plus shows a year. Not all of them are going to be winners," Carr wote.
Then there is Cooper’s timing. Apparently Cooper wanted to replace Regis Philbin, got tired of waiting and launched “Anderson” -- only to have Philbin step down months later.
Finally, towards the end, Carr seems to critcize the show itself while recognizing it is still in a nascent stage.
“The best of daytime television is driven by a sense of mission,” Carr wrote. “Oprah wanted to help you be a better you. Dr. Drew wants people to make better choices and Ellen wants to help people laugh at themselves while they laugh at her. The mission of “Anderson” is harder to discern.”
Carr is willing to give Cooper a chance -- there are moments of warmth after all -- but one question stil bugs him. Why would Cooper, who is CNN's clear prime time star, feel compelled to try on another hat?
"Is it ambition, narcissism or boredom?," he asks.
Perhaps the next few months will reveal the answer, though it may not be to Carr's liking.