This Week with Cristiane Amanpour: A Brief Pre-Mortem

Why, after just a year and a handful of months into the Amanpour Era at This Week, is ABC already letting rumors float that the Hostess with the Leastest is on her way out?


Maybe Amanpour was just too much of a woman to host a Sunday chat show? Well, no. I think we’re long past that. Besides, Amanpour had built herself a reputation as a gutsy (if flamingly biased) reporter, willing to stand up to just about anybody. So long as it advanced her cause, of course. But that kind of thing is no novelty when it comes to Big Name Celebrity News shows.

Was Amanpour too foreign? My goodness, she speaks with an accent! Oh, please. Americans have been fine with TV leading ladies with accents since at least Green Acres.

Was she too liberal? Muahahahahahahahahahaha. If flagrant liberalism explained bad ratings, then please explain every – single – other – news – show – out – there.

Maybe all three put together? Just too much for slovenly American audiences to handle?

Um, no. Have you seen the crap we will watch?

The problem with This Week was, under Christiane Amanpour it was bad TV, easily the worst of the Sunday shows.

It started, as it should I suppose, with the opening credits. Chris Botti rerecorded the opening music — in his inimitable smooth-jazz style. Which, instead of prepping you for a hard-hitting new show, made you dream instead about an oaky chardonnay, a romance novel, and a bubble bath.


From there, things got worse.

First, Amanpour would update you with “headlines you might have missed,” but never actually had. From there, an unnecessary (and unnecessarily silly) week-in-politics wrap-up from Jonathan Karl. You really have suffered until you’ve seen your TV screen filled with bobblehead versions of the entire 2012 GOP field, while hungover. Karl is a fine reporter, but he’s going to do a few centuries in Purgatory for that one.

Then — and this was the really inexplicable part — Amanpour would then go to the Roundtable, before any big shot guests had been interviewed. That left the Roundtable guests free to talk about… stuff that had happened more more recently than yesterday.

Sometimes, she’d come back from the break to do a second roundtable, but with a slightly — or sometimes completely — different panel.

The show would then finish off with a newsmagazine-style piece, usually from overseas. Except when it didn’t. Oftentimes, Amanpour would host a third roundtable at the end of the show, the segment I called, “People You’ve Never Heard of, With Accents You Can’t Decipher, Discussing Things You Don’t Care About.”


The big-name guests would either appear before the regular Roundtable, at the end of the show, or somewhere in-between — if at all, I think. It was such a jumbled mess I could never be sure what exactly the point was of any particular episode.

Her interviews were generally flat, her gotcha questions were delivered with all the sublime grace of a bride falling down a church staircase, and as a roundtable moderator… she made me long for Phil Donahue.

That is not good TV.

And it’s shown in the ratings, which are better than they once were — but nowhere close to where they were before she came on board. And when you think of the quality of the competition (let’s not) it’s clear that Amanpour has remained afloat this long, only because most everybody else sucks so badly, too.

It’s high time she was given the boot, and that Jake Tapper was given the chair that was rightfully his almost two years ago.

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