Is Anderson Cooper’s Variety Show Already a Big Disappointment?

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Anderson Cooper and the whole of CNN is in the middle of a ratings freefall. Whether it’s because network brass recognized there was trouble brewing, or they saw all the buzz MSNBC and Fox News receive, they came up with what amounts to a AC360 variety show, complete with studio audience. It really wasn’t anything you haven’t seen before. I can’t tell if that’s good or bad yet.

Minus the game show element — but even that seemed to be a mix between Jay Leno’s Jeopardy-style challenges and Bill O’Reilly’s weekly guessing game — Cooper’s new format didn’t seem that new at all.

“Before it launched, there was much speculation on whether it would take the tone of daytime talk shows, but, ultimately, Cooper kept his hard news edge on the show, presenting a product that was more Bill Maher than Oprah Winfrey, except with out the partisan dialogue and with a panel much less inclined to debate each other than to have a friendly chat about the matter at hand,” relays Mediaite‘s Frances Martel. “It’s not a completely new idea as much as it is a unique blend of many previously seen talk show elements put together for the first time.”

And while it’s true there are no new ideas, especially in television, Cooper’s “new” program felt like the same dull daytime fare that even John King can handle without a teleprompter.

But at least it’s better than The Wanda Sykes Show?

I’m not writing this one off just yet. And while I may not be the target audience — the show feels like it’s aimed at 50-year-olds, not college educated urban young people like myself — there needs to be a reason for me to ditch my Friday night to watch this thing instead of hang out with actual people. Or watch Friday Night Lights. This isn’t it, yet.