Ed Gordon Talks His BET Return, The Bishop Long Scandal and The Problem With Reality TV
Sometimes the weekly talk show circuit chatter can leave black Amercians and other people of color feeling cold, underrepresented and misrepresented. But thankfully relief has arrived and it has come in the form of a familiar face. Award-winning journalist Ed Gordon has recently returned to the TV airwaves with not one, but two new compelling shows on BET; Weekly With Ed Gordon and Conversations With Ed Gordon (check your local listings). VIBE chatted with Gordon recently about what we can expect from his two new talkers, his take on the Bishop Long scandal and what worries him most about some fans of reality television.—Ronke Idowu Reeves
VIBE: So you’re back on BET with two shows. Tell us about them.
The weekly show is called Weekly With Ed Gordon and to a great degree it is the show that allows us to cover to follow the headlines of any given week. When I returned to BET, I said to everyone we couldn’t outdo CNN. We don’t have all of the money to do a newscast where we can cover news in that way. So we tried developing a show that will allow us to get into detail of what would be of interest to our community week to week. And this was the best way to do— it allows us to talk to a headliner every week where I can sit down and talk to that person one to one. Or I can tackle an issue.
So is Weekly With Ed Gordon all politics, or a mix of politics and other topics?
I didn’t want to do anything that was solely based on politics alone. I just did not believe that we’d be able to garner the type of audience size that I wanted. I think CNN has seen that it’s difficult to only do politics when you’re not in heavy presidential cycles. So I decided why not do a show that really speaks to everything. The tagline I like to use is, ‘If you’re talking about it we’re talking about it.’ Whether it’s something that Kanye West did, tying in the hip-hop world we’ve got to talk it about it. If it’s the scandal on Eddie Long, we’re gonna talk about it. If it’s something crazy on reality television that the community is talking about, we’re gonna talk about it. This will be roundtable; we wanted to do something that got people coming back week-to-week who were not political junkies. We decided to mix up the roundtable and have people from diverse fields come on and participate and talk about everything from politics to pop culture and everything in between.
What about your second show?
The second show Conversations With Ed Gordon is really a resurrection of a series of specials I had done before when I was with BET that were very popular high profile primetime interviews. And because of the popularity that that series had I wanted to bring it back. We were always able to get A-list guests and really get them to talk to me about things they haven’t discussed before. I’m really excited about the possibilities.
So at this juncture in your career why did you return to BET?
What brings me back was an offer [laughs]. I’ve been gone for BET for a decade, but even when I did programming for other networks, people still thought I was on the air at BET. It’s always been my television home to a great degree, so when I had the opportunity to do this kind of show on a weekly basis and be able to do the special I was happy to come back. The fight is always trying to do the kind of programming that speaks to what our community needs and deserves. When I felt comfortable enough that we’d be able to do that, I was happy to come back.