Those of us who are attached to The Charlie Rose Show have suffered some anxiety over the past couple of months, now relieved by his return.* I wonder if I was alone in watching the show even more regularly in his absence -- clinging to what is threatened?
As he recovered from heart surgery, many stepped in to sit on his side of the table. If I were in Charlie's circle of friends, I would advise him to take advantage of this. He could do three shows a week and have others do the rest, as they have so capably done this past few weeks. This would give him time to do what -- he says -- he has learned he must: rest, and have more balance in his life -- but maintain for us what we so value in his work.
For me, that is several things, small and large. I value the quietness of this show -- the set, a simple wood table and chairs, and darkness around -- and the conversation, which includes much listening and actual responsiveness, one person to the other. The substitute hosts stayed on the path Charlie has devised -- depth, and surprising turns.
This show is not about talking points. The discussions are nearly always thoughtful, intelligent, civil, and sometimes amusing. I often find myself thinking about what I've heard, and learned, for some time afterward; and I've discovered that it's not unusual for me to learn the most from a topic or guest in whom I thought I had no interest.
There is, of course, an on the other hand: too many white men in suits; behaving better than they do elsewhere, but still. And not that white men in suits can't provide some visual interest -- this show, Brian Grazer interviews Malcolm Gladwell, had me mesmerized. I had to watch it twice, to get past the hair duel to the content:
I recommend that Charlie broaden (heh) and deepen his show with a selection of guests who represent a wider constituency. More women, for instance, of all colors, and not all beautiful. Not that he isn't better than most at this, but there is still much room for improvement -- and that improvement would be, I think, consistent with his values.
Which is why I can recommend this program to you, with very few reservations. Check your PBS station for times.
*From Wikipedia: On March 29, 2006, after experiencing shortness of breath in Syria, Charlie Rose was flown to Paris and underwent surgery for mitral valve repair in the Georges-Pompidou European Hospital. The surgery was performed under the supervision of Dr. Alain Carpentier, a pioneer of the mitral valve repair procedure. Rose returned on June 12, 2006 with Bill Moyers and Yvette Vega (the show's executive producer) and discussed Rose's surgery and recuperation.