Christiane Amanpour debuts on 'This Week': How did she do?

christiane-amanpourImage Credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABCThe final card in the Great ABC News Personality Deck-Shuffle of 2009-2010 got played yesterday morning when Christiane Amanpour took over the helm of the network’s Sunday-morning political talker This Week. If you need a reminder of how exactly she got there, here’s the general flow chart: Diane Sawyer left the Good Morning America host chair to helm the network’s nightly World News telecast; This Week‘s George Stephanopoulos then snagged Sawyer’s GMA post; and a vacancy was left at This Week, which was filled by…Amanpour.

The L.A. Times’ Show Tracker blog makes the astute observation that Amanpour’s “hallmark is rather an almost inelegant, even partisan urgency, with a tendency to personalize politics — that is, to make it about people — born possibly from all the years she has spent in distressed places under fire. ‘Is America going to abandon the women of Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan?’ she asked Pelosi.”

I particularly like the way Amanpour knows when to let an interview subject have the floor — it seems like she’s interested in getting real, substantive answers rather than simply sexy soundbites — and also when to interrupt a guest to stop the flow of a prefabricated talking point. Note how in the interview with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi embedded below, Amanpour demands visceral responses on subjects of the war in Afghanistan and the president’s spokesman publicly worrying about the Democrats losing their congressional majority in the fall elections — “What does your gut tell you?” “How did you feel about it?” — when Pelosi veers toward tiresome, scripted responses.

Did you catch Amanpour’s This Week debut? How do you think she fared? And will you be back for a second helping? Sound off in the comments below!

Comments (58 total) Add your comment
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  • Mike J.

    Moving Diane Sawyer, who radiates star power, to the evening news was brilliant. George’s move did switch from morning news shows until Hoda and Kathie Lee take over with their dishy program. And Amanpour’s down to earth personality grounded with her British intelligence makes Sunday morning news programs something to watch again. Love her. It’s good to see her getting some recognition. Here is a woman who has definitely earned her stripes in the trenches, literally.

  • Julz

    She’s a brilliant correspondant but I do not like her for This Week. She came across as very patronizing, condescending and at times, partisan. I also hate the new “round table”. I’ll continue to watch the next few weeks to see if things improve but I think ABC has made a big misstep here.

    • joblo

      I agree. They should’ve let Jake Tapper, who really came into his own as a temp host, keep the job. He’s the best they have right now.

      • Lenore

        Amen. Jake tapper was so good, especially in an ever narrowing field of interviewers who can organicaly interact with their subject. Russert is gone and not well replaced. Bob scheafer will probably hang his hat soon. It feels like a horrible tease to have Jake Tapper for a moment and then he’s replaced by Amanpour, who is just not humble enough to actualy listen to her guest and respond to what they say. That as opposed to ignoring what they say and continuing with the interview she had with her mirror before attending work sigh.

    • Brenda Barrett

      Tapper is an Obama boot-licker and sycophant; I’ll take Amanpour any day.

    • Mmuta

      I could not watch it to the end, I thought she was too pushy, fussy and very unrelaxed. She made the Madam so uncomfortable, I would give her one more chance and if this attitude resufaces would push that show off my viewing calender forever.

  • tom in dallas

    Normally I watch Meet the Press and then the last 30 minutes of the show, but with the new anchor, I watched the whole show. I was impressed with her interviews, but she did sound a little dramatic at times. I did not like the Round Table. Is it now oblong? Will, Krugman, and Brazile did not seem to mesh with her.

  • Mindy

    She’s the biggest blowhard in the news biz

  • Amy

    BIG MISTAKE – ABC took an already partisan show and made it even more left leaning! Can anyone just report these days without interjecting personal opinion? Isn’t that journalism 101? Besides,if I want to hear foreigners pontificate about American political issues, I’ll watch PBS, thank you!

    • ger

      No, just reporting is not allowed any more. Fox news ruined that for us. They showed that highly biased news “reporting” can be remarkably popular.

      • chicagotim

        This is such a tired left-wing talking point — Fox didn’t ruin anything. Was the proper “balance” to have left-wing biased shows at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC with no alternative? Fox is no more conservative than those news programs are liberal and one could argue less so. ABC’s This Week was hosted by Clinton’s domestic policy advisor? Meet the Press was hosted by a former aide to Sen. Moynihan? Dan Rather is an almost crackpot liberal.

        As for the new This Week I’m not a fan. And the Round Table looks like something from the set of Star Wars. Somethings are best left as is — bring back Tapper and a round, wood table.

      • kate

        Bwahahaha, chicagotim believes Fox’s fair and balanced line. Not worse than the others? Rather is a crack-pot, and Beck the voice of reason to you? O’Reilly a bastion of truth (even though he refuses to apologize on air when he makes grand mistakes)? Oh sweet delusion. I can only laugh at this, or else it will drive me insane (p.s. not a left-wing nutjob here. I think MSN has become just as bad as Fox for the left – but don’t fool yourselves, it happened after the insanity that is Fox “News”.)

      • Amy

        While I don’t agree with you that Fox “ruined that for us,” I do agree that Fox is as guilty of biased reporting as any of the “mainstream” news organizations. I think MANY people would sign up to watch straight, non-opinionated reporting of American political and social issues of the day. I certainly would!

    • oh please

      if you want to hear foreigners pontificate about American political issues you can listen to the israeli run congress anytime

    • Tcat

      Amy- Then you should watch Chris Wallace. I know he is on FOX, but he is cut from the same cloth as Tim Russert. When Russert passed away, I started watching Wallace. He is fair and consistent, just like Russert was. And like Russert, I couldn’t tell you what his politics are. I know his dad is Mike Wallace, who is a big liberal from 60 minutes…so I assume he is probably a Dem. But again, can’t really tell. He treats everyone the same. No one gets softball questions on his show and you have to be on your toes in an interview with Wallace. Just like how Russert was. I really miss Tim Russert, David Gregory is a joke. Tim Russert would have never had Rachel Maddow on his show. He kept the bomb throwing commentators off his programs, which is what made him highly respected. (and I would say the same thing if he had Glenn Beck on the program)

      As for Tapper, I thought he was great and I liked watching his show. Again, another one who made an effort to be fair and balanced. I especially liked his independent fact-checking he had done. Showed he made an effort to keep it straight…which is why I respected him. I didn’t like Amanapour, but I will give her another week. She’s comes across as snotty. Hope that changes.

  • Bobbi

    Her interviews weren’t bad, but I much prefer Jake Tapper. Imo, he should have been the permanent host, not the interim one.

    The “round” table looks ridiculous as a half egg and I found it very distracting to not have all the panel members in the studio. Every time she switched to the guy in Madrid, it disrupted the flow of the conversation. All in all, I wasn’t thrilled and am not sure if I’ll watch again.

    Moving Stephanopoulos to GMA was such a bad choice. He’s still so awkward and his partisanship really distracts from his role as an interviewer. Diane at World News is annoying but that’s just because her personal mannerisms bug me and come across as so condescending. I fear this is another huge misstep. Does no journalist believe in trying to be objective any more? These people are NOT doing their profession proud.

    I’ve watched ABC news programs all my life. It has been getting steadily more and more difficult with each successive change. Think I’ll stick to the local news.

  • jfms777

    I wish her first guest had been someone of substance, and not Pelosi.
    Hopefully she will get to interview better people–and kick their butts.

  • Skip

    This Week is the only program I watch every week. The loss of George S. was serious, but I thought Jake Tapper was the best
    replacement – genial but tough when needed. Amanpour was a major disappointment. The concept, i.e.,
    giving This Week an international
    context, didn’t work. Her overseas correspondent provided sometimes puzzled responses, and the switches distracted from the panel interchange — even with excellent panelists. Amanpour was irritaing to watch, coming across as condescending to them and to Pelosi. Having Tapper back would be best, and even rotating other hosts would be preferable — I can’t watch her.

  • DC

    After George left, I quit watching. Maybe that wasn’t fair because I only saw a couple of people standing in for him – but not Jake Tapper. I liked Amanpour. I first watched Fareed Zakaria GPS and then This Week and for me, I liked the mix. I will watch a few more times before I decide for sure. I like BBC on NPR so maybe I just like a different view of things. Meet the Press was always my favorite until the great Tim Russert passed away.

  • Andi

    Bring back Jake!

  • jake

    I liked it…. I am a long time ABC news person and recently switched to NBC news. I can’t get passed Diane Sawyer. Her sing song voice, etc. ( I could go on and on) so I was happy to see something on ABC that I Could watch/ I look forward to seeing Christiane spar with the guests…

  • sue

    totally agree on the Diane Sawyer thing… she is AWFUL… I miss Charlie. Well, I really miss Peter.

  • patty

    I have watched Christiane Amanpour over the yrs. and have always appreciated her intelligence, work ethic and experience.
    However, I do NOT like the shape of the table now. Nor do I like a member of the team NOT in the studio. That was awkward and distracting trying to work the 4th person in.

    I will watch as I have for many yrs. It will take a bit of time to smooth the edges.

  • DC Native

    I thought she was terrible. Tapper should have kept the job. I believe she is truly a partisan and not believable as host who is non-partisan as Russert and Stephanapolis (who by the way are liberals). I will rarely watch this program now and will switch back to Meet the Press and Mike Wallace. I had started watching when Tim Russert died and ABC lost me now

    • Tcat

      Stephanapolis was NOT non-partisan. I agree with you about Russert, but come on. Stephanapolis non-partisan? When I read that he is on a morning call with the White House everyday, I lost what little respect I had for him. I have always thought he was a partisan hack, but that tipped it over the edge.
      How can you be objective when you are getting your daily talking points straight from the White House?
      What a joke.

  • NanCeE*

    I liked it! And what’s wrong with making politics about the people? I am so sick of the insider-y, gossipy political aspect of all news coverage. I like that she’s making it about the people. After all, politicians are hired to serve their constituents, who are, um…people, right? I guess everyone forgets that detail, since in practice they only serve the money that gets them elected.

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