When CNN first announced that it was replacing Campbell Brown’s nightly news show with an hour of talking head analysis featuring disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, I gave Parker/Spitzer two months before it got the axe. I figured that’s all it would take for producers and audiences alike to realize that a political analysis show with a brainy, successful writer and an ego-driven master of the universe forced from office because of a prostitution scandal was, well, a recipe for ratings disaster.
At the time, I asked myself, “What drugs were those people taking when they agreed this show would be a good idea?” I couldn’t imagine who would want to hear what a cheating ex-governor had to say about anything and questioned why someone as accomplished as Parker would marry her broadcasting fortune to a man who seriously lacks respect for women.
Well, turns out CNN has decided to give the show more time than I thought they would, even with the craptastic ratings. But it looks like Kathleen Parker may be the one to determine the fate of the show. Even though Parker landed top billing, rumors of a cable news divorce abound. It turns out that Eliot has been sucking up all the oxygen on the set, leaving little room for Parker to get a word in edgewise, with producers doing little to change that.
In the world of punditry, there are still few women who get the same air-time or column inches that the guys do — whether they’re the old guard or the young turks. Even when women like Parker, or Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, do break through they get treated more like Robin Quivers on the Howard Stern show — a comic foil to whatever the guys are up to on any given day. When women do make a little headway, they end up being treated like sidekicks, as Spitzer has been doing to Parker.
Why does she need him anyway? I’d think that CNN would be over the moon having someone of Parker’s caliber and would hang on to her for dear life over a politician who became a caricature of so many powerful political men by throwing away his elective career for sex. But according to certain reports, CNN seems to favor the disgraced politician who’s shown virtually no remorse for cheating on his wife over a talented, thoughtful writer with an intellect that Spitzer can only hope to achieve in another lifetime.
I do have a piece of advice for Parker — if it’s Spitzer’s sharp elbows you feel are pushing you to the sidelines, you might want to think about throwing a couple jabs of your own back at “Client 9.” I know it’s not ladylike, and they probably don’t do that in the South, but you’ve got Pulitzer gravitas! Remember that old adage — don’t get mad, get even. You’re smarter and more tenacious than he is. Trust me on this — your fans on both sides of the political aisle will appreciate you more for it.