In America, any kid can grow up to be president or governor -- and then, maybe, to get a real cable-TV show.
That's what has happened to Jennifer Granholm, the former Michigan governor. Today, the Current TV cable channel announced she'll have a primetime show, five days a week, beginning in January. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
As Al Gore sees it, Jennifer Granholm
has star potential for cable-TV.
In January, the former Michigan
governor will have a show on Current TV, the channel Gore co-founded.
It will be at 9 p.m. weekdays, colliding with Piers Morgan on CNN,
Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Sean Hannity on Fox News.
“We want it to be fast-moving, want
it to be entertaining,” Granholm said. There will eve be a
comedian, Brett Erlich. And as the title (“The War Room”),
implies, it will be heavy on politics.
That's her strong point, Gore said.
“Very few people can articulate the issues the way she does,”
He was the one who first started
discussions with Granholm, a month or two ago, he said. “We were
blown away by the way she just lit up the room and just took
Still, there's a flip side: When
Granholm finished her second four-year term (the limit in Michigan)
on Jan. 1, the state was troubled and her approval rating were low.
“That's the reality,” Granholm said
of the economy that plagued her in Lansing and plagues Barack Obama
in Washington. “It's certainly an issue as we look at what the
A prime focus of the show will be jobs,
she said – which states have found ways to keep them and to spur
new ones. Gore talked about “a resurgence (in Detroit), which she
laid the groundwork for.”
David Bohrman, the Current president,
insisted that Granholm isn't weighed down by the Michigan troubles.
“Gov. Granholm was re-elected in a down economy.”
Bohrman, formerly of CNN, took over
Current 10 weeks ago and quickly began working on a commentary
line-up for prime time. Cenk Uygur's “Young Turks” will be at 7
p.m., Keith Olbermann at 8 and Granholm at 9, with all three
repeating at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight.
Gore and Joel Hyatt launched Current in
2005, as a loose collection of viewer-submitted films. Ratings were
meager and the channel drew attention only for its award-winning
documentaries. The transition to a news-and-commentary focus began in
June, when Olbermann moved his show to Current.
Ratings remain low, but Hyatt said
Current is drawing younger viewers. The mean age, he said, is 65 for
Fox News, 63 for CNN, 62 for MSNBC, in the 50s “and getting
younger” for Current.
Now Granholm, 52, steps in. Her show
will be done from San Francisco, near where she and her husband, Dan
Mulhern, have faculty jobs at the University of California, Berkeley.
She said she will continue that (and her job on NBC's “Meet the
Press”), but has resigned from boards of directors.
The rest will be fairly easy, Gore
insisted. “If she can lead the state of Michigan, she can lead the
mechanics of a television program.”