Ask Anderson Cooper what's one of the guests he's most looking forward to having on his new daytime talk show "Anderson" – premiering today, Monday, Sept. 12 – and he'll tell you he's keeping it very close to home.
"We’re doing an hour on my mom, who’s 87," Anderson shares with Third Age. Anderson's mom is none other than Gloria Vanderbilt, the artist, socialite and fashion designer. "She’s probably not as well known by younger women today, but among women of a certain age she’s very well known," Anderson continues. "I think there’s a lot of wisdom she has and a lot of life experience that is going to be of interest, frankly, to any generation of women and men as well."
That wisdom includes his mom's unwavering belief in finding a soulmate, no matter what your age. "She still thinks that her next great love is right around the corner. It fuels her," declarea Anderson, 44. He believes that even though her life has been filled with great challenges, the tragic moments haven't hardened her.
"Her father died when she was an infant, and the case of her custody battle where she was taken away from her own mother at the time was called the trial of the century," Anderson explains. His mother also witnessed Anderson's older brother, Carter Cooper, commit suicide by jumping off a balcony at the age of 25. "What’s compelling about her and what people will see is that term "survivor" -- what I see is that kind of boozy “Cabaret” singer by a piano who is tough as nails talking about how’s she’s a survivor and about how she’s still here. My mom has none of that; she’s not tough at all," Anderson says. "But she does have this inner-core determination and drive to move forward."
Anderson will also have the cast of one of his admitted guilty pleasures, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” on an upcoming episode.
"We spent probably half the show talking about Russell’s suicide and whether or not the show should be on the air at all and whether they bear any responsibility," Cooper says, touching upon the recent death of Russell Armstrong, the husband of “Real Housewives” star Taylor Armstrong, who apparently took his own life last month.
"I think that any time anyone has problems and issues and suddenly they become famous and are in a fishbowl and their marital problems and their business problems become not just a story among their friends and associates, but a problem that’s in tabloid papers and national papers, then that will have an impact on a person when fame or notoriety is added to the mix,” Anderson explains. “It changes the dynamic, so did reality TV play a role? … I thought those were all issues to put out to the real housewives," Anderson says. "I thought it was interesting to have them in a venue where they can be asked anything and we had a freewheeling conversation. "
Anderson's new talk show will feature celebrities, guest experts and real-life stories, but he promises the show will never become overtly sensational.
"What interests me is real conversations, genuine conversations from people," he explains. "I’m not going to consciously do something that I feel is icky or inappropriate or anything that I’m embarrassed about."
Well, maybe one thing…
"I’m embarrassed about giggling, but I can’t control that."
Catch the "Anderson" premiere on Monday, Sept. 12. Check local listings for times.
Delaina Dixon is a writer and editor who loves reporting on all aspects of celebrity lifestyle. You can see more of her work, with her own dash of DIVAness, at www.divagalsdaily.com.