Wolf in host’s clothing for CNBC’s ‘Rivera’ talker

Comparing the gig to “bungee-jumping or something,” “Law & Order” and “New York Undercover” creator-producer Dick Wolf has agreed to sub for Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday and Wednesday on the “Rivera Live” show on CNBC.

It represents a rare, if not unprecedented, example of a producer agreeing to sub on a talkshow. Many years ago, David Susskind went from producer to the host of his own talkshow. But for someone of Wolf’s stature, it’s unusual indeed.

Wolf, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of TV’s content-rating system, has been quoted liberally in the media on a variety of controversial topics. He contributed an opinion piece this week to the Los Angeles Times.

He said Wednesday that hosting “Rivera Live” isn’t as much of a stretch as it would seem. For one, he says, he’s a fan of the show and understands the format.

“It’s really just like being on the other side of the camera on a ‘Nightline’ or a ‘Today’ show,” Wolf said. “Hey, it could launch me on a whole new career path. Who knows, maybe I’ll cast myself in one of my shows and play the chief of detectives.”

Bob Reichblum, VP of current programs for CNBC, said the decision was made to offer Wolf the hosting gig based on his connection to the legal system via “Law & Order.”

“We had on our list Chris Darden, Marcia Clark and Leslie Abramson,” Reichman said, “and we decided to take it a step further with someone who isn’t an attorney. It’s hard to avoid the impact of ‘Law & Order,’ and we thought of Dick.”

And what will Wolf chat about?

“I honestly have no idea,” he admitted. “It’s just that when you get an opportunity like this, I think it’s incumbent upon you to take a shot at it. So I’m taking it.”

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