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Know News Is Good News

TV IDOL is the Washington correspondent for a European station. In the past he was an able and elegant anchor, but age crept up on him and he was replaced by a ravishing young woman with large teeth and great teleprompter skills.

Washington, D.C. is not a bad exile. TV IDOL loves the energy of the city, and he lives for the summons to the White House, which often comes only hours in advance of a formal press conference. The time pressure makes it even more exciting.

TV IDOL and I were introduced by a mutual friend. Two weeks later he called, but only to ask me for help finding an elusive political personage he wanted to interview. When I produced his subject and they’d had their chat, he called to say thanks and to invite me out to dinner.


After decades of being recognized wherever he went, TV IDOL cannot bear anonymity. He eats only in places where he is known and admired. We met at a popular Japanese bistro, where there’s always a crowd in the waiting area. Sadly, on that evening only the maitre d’ recognized him, but at least  we were waved through and seated immediately.

Although the dinner was mostly a gesture of gratitude, I like to think we both had fun. He has lots of stories from his days as a war correspondent, a UN translator, a documentary film maker, and a professor of European history. Some of these stories may actually be true.

The dinner lasted 3 hours, and when it was over he walked me to my car. He flashed a ravishing on-camera smile, gave me a big hug and a really nice kiss, and pledged to call me soon. He’d  like to have dinner with me again, he said, but probably not a movie or a bike ride. He already has date partners for movies and bike rides.


I didn’t hear from TV IDOL for 2 weeks so I called our mutual friend and complained. For the first 20 minutes, I whined, this guy is totally into being with you, but then he becomes preoccupied. For one thing, he’s on a different clock. Paris is sleeping when Washington is eating dinner. When he starts to think about how he has to wake up at 4 AM, I lose him.

“Ask him out to dinner”, my friend advised, so I called and asked and he accepted with what sounded like great pleasure. This time we ate Italian food. He let me pay.

TV IDOL talked about his divorce. The more he spoke about the debacle that was his marriage, the more it seemed he thrived on the tension the relationship provided. It seemed a form of homesickness. When he thinks of home he thinks of her, and even if she continues to infuriate him, he needs the connection.


Like many people in show biz, TV IDOL is quick to jump out of one role and into another. Suddenly he was an interviewer, and he spent about 15 minutes grilling me on what I’ve done since I left my mother’s knee.  I hit the high points, embarrassed to make myself the center of attention. I revealed more than I wanted to, even though I knew very well I was being played. This is what he does for a living and he does it well. He finds out about people – what they did, what they do, what they long to do.  I was under a spell of sorts. It wasn’t unpleasant.

When the interview was over, we returned to his favorite subject, which is — himself. It’s hard to hold this sort of thing against someone who has actually led an interesting life, as he indeed has. But his suspicion that his life is more interesting than anyone else’s is what spoils the balance.

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'Know News Is Good News' have 4 comments

  1. February 23, 2010 @ 6:54 am Fancypants

    I love the way you tell a story. This one is funny and sad in a way, and that seems to be your style. Write on.

  2. January 6, 2010 @ 11:52 am Madame X

    I admire your persistence. This man should be a lot of fun and a good “prospect.”

  3. January 3, 2010 @ 8:51 am Rachel

    You have a lot more confidence than I have. I wouldn’t have called him. I get nervous around super-confident men.

  4. November 6, 2009 @ 10:19 am Phyl301

    This is almost my story. I was married to a TV anchor in a small city and he wanted to be out all the time to test his image. We never missed hockey games but he wouldn’t see the play because he was searching the fans to see if they recognized him. There was always someone, so he kept going there. The marriage was over 25 years ago, thank goodness, but your post reminded me.

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