“Anderson,” the daytime talker hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, will not have to worry about favoring one candidate over another as it discusses current events and books guests – the FCC has confirmed that the program counts as a news program insofar as equal time rules are concerned.
ANE Productions is responsible for production of the program which is syndicated by Warner Bros. Television, and according to Hollywood Reporter, ANE had asked for the FCC advisory opinion as a precaution.
Under equal time rules, if Cooper were to make his airtime available to a candidate for office, he’d have to make time available to the candidate’s opponents as well.
However, this requirement is erased for news programs, which are allowed to exercise their editorial judgment as to what qualifies as news and what does not. Just about any program that discusses current events, including current political events, is able to fit into the generously-broad definition.
RBR-TVBR observation: Getting FCC clearance on this matter is hardly earth-shattering. Indeed, we wonder what a talk show would have to do to fail to earn this qualification. Late night programs, Howard Stern, Entertainment Tonight – just about any talk program that might ever schedule a talk a politician – for awhile there, John McCain seemed to be just about everywhere – has been able to qualify as a “news” program.