We continue our American Idol-esque critiques of ABC ‘This Week’ hosts. Our panel of judges now includes Anonymous Judge, who is a political journalist in D.C. — we’ll leave it at that (the person wants to keep his/her day job). The fill-in host this week is Elizabeth Vargas, who regularly appears on 20/20.
HuffPost’s Jason Linkins (editor of “Eat the Press”): Hi, Elizabeth Vargas! I understand that you are not really vying for host of ‘This Week’. You should ask yourself why that is. I mean, why not you? Can you tell me that? But look, I guess it’s really hard to get too invested, knowing this isn’t going anywhere. On the actual “American Idol”, everyone is asked why they are doing it, they all say, “Oh, because I am going to be the next American Idol, most definitely, so prepare for maximum swooning!” They do not say, “Oh, I am here because I hear you all have a really great craft services table!” You sort of feel like that.
So, you interviewed Nancy Pelosi! How nice for you! And it was really good up until the end. And then, the end came, and it was not good. “How would you grade yourself?” You realize that this is ABC News interviewing the Speaker of the House. This is not you giving a performance review to the fresh faced college kid who’s been serving as the office manager of your west side branch. And then you let Pelosi end things with one of her monologues of bromides! ABC won’t get that time back.
(Read more Linkins after the jump…)
Examiner’s Yeas & Nays Columnists Tara Palmeri and Nikki Schwab: Elizabeth Vargas, you’re a firecracker on the Sunday spot. You bring the drama of a nightly newsmagazine with your hard-hitting questions and quick follow-ups. You controlled the anchor spot like a ping-pong champ, and your news babe charm adds flair to the stodgy mix. During the first segment, you handled Pelosi’s non-answers pretty well. You were quick with followups and at least you didn’t get bulldozed. Thankfully Pelosi is no Ahhhnold.
On a down note, you lost control of the panel. Panelists controlled the conversation and you often chimed in as a panelist not as a moderator. All in all, we’re not convinced that you dazzled on ‘This Week’, ’20/20′ seems more your style.
Carol Joynt (New York Social Diary and former producer of ‘This Week’): Elizabeth, you were experienced, polished and affable and clearly did your homework. But whenever an interview is produced on a “set,” artifice is part of the equation. Add political agenda and it’s more than half. Rather than buff up with hair, make-up and serious suits in a staged Hill office, I wanted you to drag Pelosi out of the office and get down. Imagine if you two dressed casual, walked the C&O Canal or the Mall, maybe sat on a park bench. One camera. Intimacy. “Nancy, are you enjoying this job?” “Nancy, do you feel like a hamster on a wheel?” “Nancy, what keeps you awake at night?” I was eager for you to make the interview your own, to cut through Pelosi’s palaver.
(Read more Joynt after the jump…)
Anonymous Judge: Longtime fan. First-time reviewer. First off, I think it would be great to have a woman calling the shots on “This Week.” You didn’t close the deal on Sunday, but you didn’t blow it, either. Your interview with Pelosi had its ups and downs. The good news: Your questions triggered answers that made headlines, such as Pelosi saying the Tea Party has some things in common with Democrats. You also got her to say that Rep. Charles Rangel’s ethics admonishment was “not good.”
Bad news: You spent too much time pressing Pelosi on whether she is going to have the votes to pass health reform. What did you expect her to say? “Between you and me, Elizabeth, I’m down about 50 votes and I think this is going to be complete catastrophe.”
(More Anonymous Judge after the jump…)