The reimaging of Anderson Cooper began in earnest Tuesday night with the CNN anchor making himself available to TV critics a few weeks before the launch of his syndicated daytime talker, "Anderson," on Sept. 12.
It's clear that his team wants to show off Cooper's warmer, funnier, more personable style. In large part, they succeeded. In our cocktail conversation, Cooper deftly avoided poltical hot potatoes - the Republican primaries, the Murdoch story - and dug into more trivial matters, such as his addiction to Bravo's "Real Housewives" series.
"Sometimes they have these marathons, and I just have to take an emotional break after watching them," he said, a curious statement for someone who covers emotionally charged stories across the country.
Cooper also talked about his stint on ABC's "The Mole." Why did he host it?
At the time, Cooper was working for "20/20" and was doing stories that had him hanging out in seedy parking lots trying to talk to prostitutes. Cooper said he had had enough. When he was offered "The Mole" he said he figured it had much to do with journalism as his "20/20" gig did.
He changed his mind when 9/11 hit. The day after that tragedy, he was offered an assignment in Afghanistan. He took it.
If Cooper can be as unguarded and open as he was with us, he may have a hit on his hands.