Although he has been in New York for nearly 20 years, if you say the name "Pat Kiernan" to me, I think of him as a K-Lite (CKRA-FM) Newsman, where he started his career in 1988.
Kiernan's a fine co-host in 'Live! With Kelly' tryout
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
New York Daily News
NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan played his position perfectly Wednesday in his big-time debut as a guest co-host on “Live! with Kelly."”
Whether he gets his fervent wish and the producers invite him back for good, though, probably depends on whether the position he played is the position they want.
Kiernan essentially functioned Wednesday as Ripa’s sidekick, a supportive helpmate who followed her cues.
If that’s what the show wants — that is, if the long-term plan is for this to be the Kelly show — Kiernan should be right at the head of the line
He seems comfortable in that role and, equally important, looks the part. He has an Everyman aura and the ability to start laughing even before anything funny has been said.
That can be annoying in real life, but it’s valuable on TV talk shows. It’s also worth noting, perhaps as a very mild irony, that one of the TV sidekicks who pioneered that backdrop of constant laughter was Regis Philbin.
In any case, tacitly admitting it is now Kelly’s show wouldn’t be the worst move in the world.
On the other hand, if the producers want a full-fledged co-host, Kiernan didn’t make a wholly persuasive case Wednesday that he’s ready for that role.
He didn’t do anything wrong.
He just didn’t do a lot that was right, in the sense of establishing a TV-host persona.
He was bland — which, once again, is fine when you’re a guest in someone else’s house. You don’t walk in and start rearranging the furniture.
He seemed mildly nervous in the banter segments, which is logical when you’ve never bantered with that particular person before. He also let Kelly take the lead in all the guest interviews, to the point where, during the Leslie Bibb segment, the two blond bookends seemed to close in and Pat virtually disappeared.
So if producers are looking for someone who would stamp the show with his own personality, quirky or otherwise, they may not have gotten many clues from this show whether Kiernan’s got the goods.
It’s not a surprise, or a problem, that Kelly came off as much more relaxed. Where she was once the rookie, she’s now the veteran. She’s comfortable with her timing, her inflection and the rest of what makes a host endearing to the audience.
Kiernan, while he’s got a lot of TV experience, was working a new room with a different playbook. He may have never had occasion to react to the news that ketchup cleans copper.
On top of all that, the sheer physics of the show also work against any rookie guest host. While you start to feel more comfortable as the hour goes on, most of the conversational segments come at the beginning.
Whether Kiernan returns may depend on whom they want sitting next to Kelly in the future: the old-school Regis sidekick or the latter-day Reege.