"Anderson" Gets Emotional Start, Mixed Reviews

Winehouse's Dad says he felt Amy's presence at funeral

By Sara Dover
|  Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011  |  Updated 4:13 AM CDT
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Anderson Cooper kicked off his new daytime talk show on Monday, beginning with an interview with deceased singer Amy Winehouse's parents and boyfriend.

"Anderson," which airs at 4 p.m. on weekdays various channels nation-wide, got to an emotional start. The father of the troubled British singer, found dead in her London apartment several weeks ago at age 27, said he believed his daughter's spirit was at the funeral when a black butterfly flutted around the guests.

"It landed on Kelly Osbourne's shoulder, then flew around me," said 59-year-old Mitch Winehouse. "Have you ever heard anything like that in your life? It's incredible. Has anybody ever seen that?"

He and his wife also reiterated how no drugs were found in the singer's system in a toxicology report.

Cooper is best known as the anchor of CNN news show "Anderson Cooper 360" and a CBS' "60 Minutes" corespondent, but he dips into an entirely new audience filling in at Oprah's old, coveted time slot.

So far the show has gotten mixed reviews. The L.A. Times warned him against "dumbing down his brand" with frivolous celebrity-focused television, while Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker wrote that "anyone who thinks viewers won't accept Cooper in this role" is "foolish." The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove wrote that "Cooper knows the nature of the market he has entered, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to thrive in it," even if that means going spray-tanning with the Jersey Shore's Snooki.

It's not the first time the silver fox has dabbled in the daytime genre. He has filled in several times for Regis Philbin in "Regis and Kathy Lee," and speculated to be a top contender for Philbin's replacement after the legendary talk show host's retirement. Cooper also anchored a season of the reality show, "The Mole."

"Everybody has different sides to them," he told The New York Times. "I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to work different jobs that show different side of you."

For Tuesday's show, Cooper says he interviewed French actor Gerard Depardieu-- whose incident peeing on an airplane prompted the silver fox to giggle "like at 13-year-old at a Justin Bieber concert" for nearly a minute on his "360" segment, "The Ridicu-List."

Depardieu later said the incidents was due to a prostate problem, and Cooper says the interview was all done in good humor. He did not giggle, but rather "laughed heartedly," he told Fox Los Angeles.

Selected Reading: The New York Times, Anderson, The Huffington Post

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