Despite protests from family-values groups and minority journalists, CNN forged ahead and announced the premiere date for a talk show co-hosted by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and columnist Kathleen Parker.
The creatively named “Parker Spitzer Show” will premiere on October 4 and air Monday through Friday during the 8 p.m. family hour.
|Cartoon courtesy of Brett Noel|
Spitzer resigned as governor after being outed as “Client No. 9” in a prostitution-ring sting. His TV debut is part of an effort to rehabilitate his image in order to run for New York mayor when Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s third term ends in 2013.
“I’ve made it very clear that I’m not ruling it out,” Spitzer said of his political ambitions in May to NY1.
On Tuesday, CNN announced the new show with Spitzer and Parker, a Washington Post columnist, with a web video (below) of the two mock bantering to muzak audio.
Wearing the cliché Republican woman’s outfit of a pink sweater set and Barbara Bush pearls, the “conservative” Parker says: “All right Eliot, I’m tried of talking about tax policy…”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…. I love tax policy!” Spitzer interjects with his trademark sideways smirk. “Let’s talk about Mideast peace settlements. And let’s talk about nuclear proliferation. That’s where we’re gonna go with this show.”
“Do you see people’s eyes glazing?” Parker retorts, looking very amused with herself. “I see people’s eyes glazing.”
“I do. Your eyes are glazing over,” Spitzer responds.
The cable network’s transparent effort to show the co-hosts “chemistry” is done with a mock debate over what to name their talk show. The clearly scripted 32-second debate threw out three options—”Spitzer Parker,” “Parker Spitzer” and “The Spitzer Factor”—with Spitzer conceding second billing supposedly because Parker won a Pulitzer Prize.
CNN President Jon Klein has been oddly unabashed about hiring Spitzer. Klein calls his close friend “a Democrat who resigned as governor in March 2008 after acknowledging visiting a prostitute” who is “a well-respected political mind and a take-no-prisoners prosecutor.”
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) sent a letter to Klein this summer, asking “Are you telling us that CNN could find no one better than an ex-politician who quit being New York governor after consorting with prostitutes to grace America’s living rooms each night?”
Former New York Atty. Gen. Spitzer—the so-called “Sheriff of Wall Street”—was never charged with a crime. He admitted to soliciting prostitutes and gave prosecutors the names of the escort-service owners and prostitutes in exchange for not being prosecuted himself.
The federal investigation of Spitzer ended with U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia’s bizarre statement: “We have determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. Spitzer.” Garcia, however, conceded that “on multiple occasions, Mr. Spitzer arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution.”
Spitzer has spent the past two years working for his real estate developer father who is worth an estimated $500 million and attempting to clear his name to get back in political office. The admitted “john” will now be a nightly cable news talk show anchor. Where’s the justice in that?