If Anderson Cooper were a car, he’d be a classic American convertible.
“Maybe it’s the silver hair. Maybe it’s the kind of work he does. I don’t think he’d be a Porsche,” says Jim Murphy, executive producer of Cooper’s upcoming daytime show. “He’s going to cover a lot of space and be very open to people watching.”
Murphy knows about covering space. Prior to joining ABC in 2006 as senior executive producer of ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ he did two e.p. stints at CBS, with ‘Evening News’ under Dan Rather, then Bob Schieffer; and ‘CBS This Morning.’
Murphy jumps to the syndicated ‘Anderson’ in mid-March. The talk show launches Sept. 12, replacing Oprah Winfrey in some markets. (No pressure.)
Though Murphy and Cooper barely know each other, in Murphy’s words, they have several mutual friends. “The funny thing is, they’ve said to both of us over the years that we’d make a really good team,” Murphy says. “I’ve admired the guy for a hell of a long time.”
As it turns out, the timing was perfect. Murphy, who turned 50 last year, was burning out and needed a change. He went to new ABC News president Ben Sherwood, who had been Murphy’s predecessor on ‘GMA.’
“I was honest with him and he was honest with me,” Murphy says. “Morning TV is very hard, very competitive, very high pressure. You can only do this job for a certain amount of time – it’s definitely like dog years.
“This [‘Anderson’] was out there. Nothing else at ABC was as interesting or challenging. We agreed to part amicably.” Murphy was released from the remainder of his contract.
Given that Cooper will continue his nightly show at CNN as well as his occasional pieces for CBS’s ’60 Minutes,’ the big question is this: What happens to ‘Anderson’ when Cooper is called away for big breaking news anywhere on the planet?