Is Anderson Cooper the Next Oprah?

The CNN anchor is making the move to daytime, just in time for a certain somebody's departure

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CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has struck a deal to host and produce his own syndicated daytime TV talk show. According to the announcement by Warner Bros. and Telepictures Productions, Cooper's program will cover "social issues, trends and events, pop culture and celebrity, human interest stories and populist news" and hit the airwaves sometime in 2011, just as reigning daytime queen Oprah Winfrey concludes her own 25-year run in syndication. Will Cooper--who will remain the host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360--be able to duplicate her success? A sampling of opinions from around the Web:

  • High Risk, High Reward  The move is fraught with risks, observes Joe Flint of The Los Angeles Times. On the one hand, a favorable syndication package offers Cooper the chance to make "a ton of money." At the same time, it's an uncomfortable reminder of the newsman's trash TV roots. (His first taste of national exposure was as host of ABC's reality show The Mole.) Cooper "has worked hard to reshape his image and earned a reputation as a crusading journalist for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina," writes Flint. If Cooper adheres to the genre's tabloid sensibilities "he could find himself permanently on the soft side of the newsroom."

  • In the Oprah Mold  Cooper and Winfrey have more in common than people might think, argues Salon's Mary Elizabeth Willis. Writes Williams:

Part of the appeal of both is how unromantic their personas are. It's not about being gay or straight, it's about how successfully they both project the image of individuals whose primary relationship in life is with their audiences, and whose chief passions are the causes they champion. While Cooper is unlikely to provoke his audience into swag-induced fits of europhoria, why should women be the only television personalities who bring the human touch to news? When it comes to saying to hell with objectivity, Cooper has proven himself master of the form. We shouldn't have to wait till 6 p.m. to enjoy something like that.

  • More Misses Than Hits  Daily Finance's Jeff Bercovici notes that while Oprah is daytime's gold-standard, Cooper is also lumping himself in with other, less prestigious names. "Geraldo Rivera. Jane Pauley. Phil Donahue. Jerry Springer. These are names that everyone knows," writes Bercovici. "But are they names you want to be associated with if you're Anderson Cooper?"

  • The Celebrity Factor  Cooper's star power guarantees his transition will be a smooth one, contends The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes. "The daytime television audience these days does love watching celebrities interview celebrities," she points out. "Like when Rosie O'Donnell had her own talk show. And more recently, Ellen DeGeneres."

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