NEW YORK (AP) — It’s a safe bet that George Stroumboulopoulos will be the first male CNN personality to wear two earrings and a skull ring from a designer who made one for Keith Richards.
Stroumboulopoulos, whose new nighttime talk show premieres Sunday, is more curious than dangerous, though.
The show gets a solid time slot for its debut, airing after the season finale of Anthony Bourdain’s successful “Parts Unknown.” Then it will settle into a regular spot on Fridays at 11 p.m. Eastern for the summer and, if things go well, maybe beyond.
It’s part of CNN’s attempt to branch out beyond news programming at certain times, represented most prominently by Bourdain’s show. The effort started before the arrival of new network boss Jeff Zucker — Stroumboulopoulos had his first contact with the network last summer before Zucker arrived — but the enthusiasm continued with the change in management.
Stroumboulopoulos (STRAHM’-boo-lahp-yoo-lus) hosts a nightly talk show on the CBC in Canada, where his friendly style seems to encourage celebrities to talk.
“I hope that people pick up something new about the person I’m interviewing and find out a way to relate to them,” he said. “I want them to find a connection.”
For CNN, the show represents an old style for a new generation. Stroumboulopoulos, 40, said his interest in politics was fueled less by politicians than by listening to the Clash and Public Enemy. He’s eager to interview Snoop Lion, the former Snoop Dogg, on his show because he considers him such an important figure in hip-hop.
Rap artist Wiz Khalifa, comic Martin Short and actor Keanu Reeves are the guests on his first show.
Other confirmed interviews for the show’s 10-week run include Keanu Reeves, Martin Short, Betty White, Bill Maher, Sharon Stone and filmmaker Werner Herzog. The show will tape before a studio audience in Los Angeles.
Stroumboulopoulos said he’s not gunning for the job of CNN’s other general interview program, Piers Morgan, and said he likes the way Morgan conducts interviews.
For the moment, he’ll fit the CNN show in with a schedule that includes the CBC show (which airs twice in the evening) and a weekly music and talk program he does for a CBS radio station.
“This is what I do,” he said. “I don’t even have any dependents in my life. I don’t even have a plant.”