THR's 35 Most Powerful People in Media
When Cooper, 44, lost it on air, laughing to the point of tears during a heavily pun-laced “RidicuList” 360 segment about Gerard Depardieu allegedly urinating on a public flight, his giggles went viral.
“I went to bed that night thinking no one would really notice it,” says the face of CNN. “The next morning, it was everywhere. Some people actually have it as their ringtone on their phone. I am not one of them.”
Perhaps the only anchor with the kind of fame factor that can launch a ringtone, he also is among 60 Minutes’ pop-culture interlocutors, interviewing Lady Gaga in her underwear last year and Adele for a segment on Grammys night. While 360 continues to deliver network-topping ratings for CNN, the host’s syndicated talker, Anderson, struggled but was renewed for a second season, with a shift to a smaller studio in the CBS Broadcast Center, to be closer to his CBS News colleagues and to afford the show more options, including the ability to go live.
“We’ve made the show more multi-topic and more topical,” he says of Anderson. Despite election-year opportunities, Cooper says it’s “regular people trying hard to live a good and decent life” who most inspire him. “They are who I think about when I close my eyes at night.”