Fans of smart Sunday morning talk shows can relax. After wondering who could possibly take over This Week after George Stephanopoulos moved to Good Morning America, we learned that ABC has scored a coup, signing Christiane Amanpour to join the round table in August.
Strangely, not everyone is happy. On Tuesday, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales wrote a harsh criticism of the choice, calling her "the opposite of the perfect candidate." Instead of lauding ABC for moving beyond expertise in domestic politics and "inside-the-Beltway" banter, Shales called Amanpour’s hiring a "sideshow."
If Amanpour is a sideshow, I’m off to join the circus.
What really bothers me about Shales’ critique, though, is the undercurrent of sexism. He names two white men as better candidates for the job than Amanpour, making me wonder if the real objection is gender, not qualifications. And in a follow up chat, Shales wondered aloud if ABC planned to turn Amanpour into "Little Ms. Politics." Yikes.
In any case, ABC News didn’t hesitate to answer Shales and other critics. SVP Jeffery Schneider said, "If we are being accused of hiring one of the most well respected journalists in the world, we proudly plead guilty."
Amanpour has been with CNN for 27 years and is one of the best reporters on TV (just ask Rory Gilmore). She’s been right in the middle of every crisis that needed coverage. She has interviewed heads of state — not always friendly ones — and never backed down from a tough subject. And as much as I like George Stephanopoulos, he simply is not in the same category of journalism.
And seriously, who would not want to wake up to this on a Sunday morning?
What do you think of Christiane Amanpour as host for This Week?