The Watchman: He’d Rather Interview Rock Gods, And Full Court Press for Rebooted Net

Dan rather interviews key entertainment figures on The Big Interview on AXS TV, and the season’s lineup may surprise some. Rather, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, sits with Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick, among others.

'The Big Interview'

'The Big Interview'

“It’s a real education for me, and a great pleasure,” Rather said. “I find myself really interested in sitting down with them.”

Rather turns 88 this month. He called Alice Cooper “really intelligent,” and was pumped to meet Ringo Starr for the first time.

And then there’s Bret Michaels, who sang power ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” with Poison back in 1988. Rather went to Michaels’ home in Arizona. He may not be a giant Poison fan, but a couple of Rather’s staffers are, and briefed him on everything he should know en route to Arizona.

“Bret was so friendly and so hospitable,” Rather said. “He couldn’t have been more down to earth.”

That runs Oct. 23. Then it’s Cooper, Little Big Town, Bob Costas, David Byrne, the band America, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Yes frontman Jon Anderson and Alabama.

“I love doing this,” Rather said.

Speaking of rocking and rolling, Katz Networks’s Court TV is humming along five months after rebooting. On Oct. 28, Court TV debuts in several giant markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philly and Dallas.

“It’s a huge deal,” Vinnie Politan, lead anchor on Court TV, said. “It means a large number of folks are able to get back to watching Court TV.”

The network goes “gavel to gavel,” it says, on the giant court stories of the day. Politan was on the initial Court TV until it shifted to truTV in 2008. He co-hosted Bloom & Politan with Lisa Bloom.

'Closing Arguments with Vinnie Politan'

'Closing Arguments with Vinnie Politan'

“I’m kind of like a legacy anchor,” he said.

These days, Politan hosts Closing Arguments with Vinnie Politan. “Looking into the lens,” he said, “is like looking into the jury box.”

Which court cases have his attention? Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who went home to the wrong apartment, and killed the man, Botham Jean, inside. The clip of Jean’s brother Brandt asking Guyger for a hug went viral.

“I’ve been covering this stuff for decades,” said Politan. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Harvey Weinstein’s case next year will make a few headlines too.

Much has changed since Court TV went off the air. Social media allows viewers to weigh in on cases in real time. The cable news networks, Politan said, mostly avoid court to focus on politics.

“We are filling this huge void,” he said. “True crime has never been as popular as it is right now.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.