When Christiane Amanpour begins hosting her own newsshow on CNN this month, it’s a fair bet there won’t be any yelling.
Contrary to the bellowed histrionics of some of cable TV’s talking heads, Amanpour has always conveyed the impression of being in control, her thoughts in order, her views delivered in measured — if often compelling — tones.
Add to that her standing as CNN’s pre-eminent expert on world news, honed from almost two decades spent covering political upheavals, armed conflicts, natural disasters and acts of genocide around the globe, and you’ll understand why she has been rewarded with a weekly showcase, titled simply “Amanpour.”
“When it comes to global superstars, that list pretty much begins and ends with Christiane Amanpour,” Tony Maddox, executive VP and managing director of CNN Intl., told the New York Times last November, when the move was announced.
Audiences in the U.S. will see “Amanpour” as an hourlong show on Sundays starting Sept. 27, compiled from the best of a daily half-hour program that began airing on CNN Intl. Sept. 21.
But how will Amanpour, 51, stand out from the pompous punditry responsible for many viewers’ news fatigue?
By giving them “more focus, more perspective, more context and more understanding,” that’s how, she tells Variety. “We’ll tackle the big issues of our time in terms that are relevant and understandable.” But Amanpour insists her show will be lively and not, as she puts it, “professorial.”
Even with her new platform, Amanpour — recipient of nine News and Documentary Emmys and four George Foster Peabody Awards — is not giving up the task of providing firsthand accounts of the world’s crises.
She’ll still be out in the field when the occasion calls for it, and credits her upbringing in her father’s native Iran with giving CNN “an advantage in being able to go to the heart of the matter” during her coverage of the disputed presidential election there in June.
Despite all her experience, Amanpour’s one-woman show won’t be a walk in the park. “I’m apprehensive, of course,” she admits. “It’s completely different for me.”
IN A NUTSHELL
Job title: CNN’s chief international correspondent
Role models: Edward R. Murrow, Ted Turner and Don Hewitt
Career mantra: “Do no harm.”
Leisure pursuits: “To be surrounded by beauty and fun. Failing that, tennis and hanging out with friends and family.”
Philanthropic passion: “The education and empowerment of women and girls.”