Monday, September 12, 2011

Cooper's 'Anderson' Launches Today: Will He Or Won't He?

Anderson Cooper's syndicated daytime talk show launches Monday around the nation. The question in my noggin: Will he finally feel comfortable discussing his homosexuality?

The 43-year-old reporter's Anderson, taped at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s beautiful Allen Room, is set up as a chat-fest to take the place of recently retired Oprah, which means the already gregarious CNN host is going to have to get real familiar real fast with viewers. We've certainly seen his playful side, hosting New Year's Eve with his pal Kathy Griffin and occasionally bursting into giggles on CNN's Anderson 360.

He's also been regularly ranked on Advocate and Out "Power" lists as a gay guy, photographed with his longtime partner Ben Maisani riding bikes and walking the streets of New York gay nabe Chelsea... He took Ben to Vanity Fair's Oscars party... and he's been ID'd in the mainstream press from time to time as gay. For heaven's sake, his mama is Gloria Vanderbilt: How much gayer can you get?

I assume much of America already gets it and more so, doesn't care one way or the other.

But for the gay community, his coming out loud and proud is an important step in further cementing that we are everywhere, in the hierarchy of the professional ranks and indeed, just like everybody else.

Anderson has said about his daytime role, "I hope to relate to people and the audience in a completely different way. It’s an exciting opportunity to show another side of myself."

I hope he does. Unfortunately, Neil Patrick Harris' admirable stance as role model just isn't enough.