Stan Godlewski/USA TODAY
CNN newsman Anderson Cooper, who has joined the ranks of daytime talk show hosts with his syndicated Anderson (check local listings), tells us, “I’m going to be myself.”
And who exactly is that, we wondered? We asked Cooper, 44, more:
Books he's recommending:
Faithful Place [Tana French], The Hypnotist [Lars Kepler], In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin [Erik Larson], Await your Reply [Dan Chaon]. “I’ve just got the iPad and that’s why I’ve started to read a lot more again. To me it’s like the advent of fire. I don’t know how it works, how it’s possible but you can get a book in 30 seconds.”
Websites he's shopping:
eBay. “I’m moving into a new building in New York from 1906, so I’m making a gym from the turn of the century. I just bought the old kind of weights with big large balls on the ends. Back then there were gymnasiums, climbing ropes in the ceiling: It’s an old firehouse [so] I want it to keep the old firemen’s gym.”
“I watch The Real Housewives in just about every city. I’m a little ashamed to admit but I’m willing to own it. It’s hard to beat the Beverly Hills Housewives.” Also watching: True Blood, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Killing and Tosh.0.
He follows Kelly Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelsos; Kathy Griffin; Brian Stelter [The New York Times], Arwa Damon and Fareed Zakaria [CNN] and his own 1.3 million Twitter followers. “I tend to read more viewer tweets than [tweets by other] people.”
“I’m laying in bed, I wake up, I scrounge around for my glasses and my BlackBerry and then check the Twitter feed [for the latest news]. I look at tweets from overnight [from his own followers]. The show [CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360] repeats a number of times in the night. People continue to tweet all night long. I try to scroll through and see what people are saying.”
Boston Market. “I’ve eaten it every day for lunch for the last three months. I get the Turkey with sides of corn, mashed potatoes, no gravy, cornbread and it’s like Thanksgiving every day. Thanksgiving meals make me happy.”
All work and no play:
“I work all the time so long ago people have written me off, they don’t even invite me anywhere. On the weekends, I’ll occasionally have dinners with Kelly [Ripa] but really that’s about it. I can’t remember the last party I went to or anything. I’m socially reclusive, so at a party I just hang out in the kitchen.”
Not replacing Regis:
“I obviously love Kelly [Ripa] and I love working with her and it’s a great show but the opportunity to have a program which really covers a wide range of topics, which can be fun like Regis & Kelly but also can be serious and in-depth, that’s something I’m really excited about.”
Reading more with his iPad:
“I didn’t think I’d be someone who would like to read books on it but I must say I really do. I find myself suddenly getting five or six books at a time. That you can just download these books is extraordinary.”
“I try to travel really light, one pair of jeans, a couple t-shirts, I try to keep it to a minimum.”
Packing. “For some reason, I just hate it. I feel like I’m packing or unpacking at all times. I kind of wish I had a bag ready at all times.”
Must have travel item:
Now it’s the iPad because that way I can bring books with me without adding weight. A lot of places I go for work, electricity’s an issue or power’s an issue so the iPad doesn’t work on that level because it’s sometimes hard to recharge if you’re in a disaster zone.”
“I like to immerse myself in where I am so I don’t bring mementos. I don’t even listen to music anymore on the road. I like to be very present where I am and sometimes it’s very depressing but I feel like I don’t want to escape from it. I want to be there.”
Unwinding at bedtime:
I usually watch TV to decompress. I watch some HBO or movies On Demand. I’ll usually check to see who’s on Leno, Letterman and then I’ll see what Jon Stewart does off the top of his program. Another show I love right now is Tosh.0 [Comedy Central]. It’s so inappropriate on so many levels.”
“I lift every day, I run on a treadmill. It’s so boring.”
Best shape he's ever been in?
“It probably is, actually. Although not my eyes.”
Turning off the Technology:
“Once I’m home, I try not to look at my BlackBerry. It doesn’t always work because when I’m lying in bed, I usually end up thinking of things that I forgot, e-mails I forgot to respond to. I’m trying to force more of a technology free time.”
I’m trying to multitask less, to enjoy experiences more. For instance, when I work out now, I try not to bring my BlackBerry. I want to focus on what I’m doing at the time rather than trying to engage in multiple things. If I’m walking down the street, I’m trying not to look at my BlackBerry so I can be in the moment.”
Skipping the movie theater:
“I used to go see movies all the time [but now] I just find I don’t have much time anymore and if it gets on TV....Also if I go to theater, I’m going to stuff my face with popcorn and chocolate. I like the Goobers or M & Ms.”
Choosing the right Fast Food:
[In] L.A.: Baja Fresh, I’m encouraging them to come to New York City because they’re really good. There’s a salad that has mango and chicken. I love McDonalds’ Big Macs. But in order to try to be healthy I’ll order the grilled chicken salad there, they have an Asian Salad or Southwest which I’ll eat now with just minimal dressing and a small fries just to give me the taste of fast food and they have a fruit and walnut salad which I like.”
“Taking a lot of deep breathes,” is how the host of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, is gearing up for his new daytime talk show.
Behind the scenes:
They’ve got former producers from The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America and news divisions. “We wanted a diverse group with different backgrounds and diversity of perspective,” says Cooper.
New York's 9/11's inspiration:
“It was the first time I felt the sense of being in a war zone in New York,” says the longtime combat reporter. “Cities under attack come together, often in important ways. I remember walking by fire stations, where people would bring flowers and you just wanted to go and be with other people in a public space and I found that really moving. I have some friends who left town after 9/11 and I always felt that was inappropriate. I didn’t want to leave. I was glad that I was there and felt it was important to stay and bear witness and to feel the solidarity of the city."
“I work pretty much all the time. I have a house on Long Island so I occasionally go out there but I travel a lot on weekends for various stories for 60 Minutes, for the daytime show I’ve been going around meeting with affiliate stations.