Michael Eisner to Host CNBC Talks Show
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 5:36 PM EST
The Associated Press
By DAVID BAUDER
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Eisner began a long career in the entertainment business as a page guiding audience members to their seats at Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” studio in New York. Now he will be host of his own TV show from the same studio.
He’s had other jobs, of course — most notably 21 years as chief of the Walt Disney Co. until he stepped down last year.
CNBC announced Tuesday that he will be host of “Conversations with Michael Eisner,” an hour-long, prime-time interview show that will be seen once every two months. The network didn’t announce a premiere date or first guest.
Eisner said he will speak with business, entertainment or political leaders, with a focus on creativity and innovation.
Mark Hoffman, CNBC president, said he called Eisner with the idea after watching the former Disney executive fill in for Charlie Rose on PBS one night last October, interviewing media executive Barry Diller and actor John Travolta.
“He’s got an almost insatiable curiosity about the world and about people and he’s a great listener,” Hoffman said. “You combine those three things and it makes for a great interviewer.”
Besides, Eisner said, his family and work associates always told him he was an incessant questioner.
His experience as a businessman and longtime relationships with many of the people he will be likely to interview — like with Diller and Travolta — give him a different perspective from other interviewers, Hoffman said.
“I don’t know if I have more insight or less insight,” Eisner said. “I have different insight.”
Eisner was an ABC executive before moving up the corporate ladder, and he was familiar to TV viewers as the on-air host of “The Wonderful World of Disney.” He cut all business ties to Disney last October. Robert Iger succeeded him as Disney chief.
Eisner wouldn’t comment on other projects he might be working on.
He also wouldn’t say who’s on his wish list to talk to, although it likely won’t be anyone from Disney for a while.
“I would probably wait four or five shows before I call up Bob Iger,” said Eisner, who will be the show’s executive producer. “I think it makes sense to concentrate on other things for awhile.”
CNBC is a unit of General Electric Co.