Cool Under Pressure
Carlos Watson, 37, wants to be the Barbara Walters of his generation.
Conversations With Carlos Watson debuted on TV stations across the country (and WCVB in Boston) in March, with you interviewing Hillary Clinton, Sean Combs, and Jeff Gordon. Who will you talk to on the show that airs next month?
Joss Stone, Donovan McNabb, John McCain, John Legend, and we usually do several names you know, one you dont know yet Lupe Valdez. Shes the sheriff of Dallas.
Why did you pick Valdez?
Because I always want someone who embodies the notion that anything is possible. When you think, the sheriff of Dallas, you probably think of John Wayne. You dont think of a woman, you dont think of a Mexican-American, and you probably dont think of someone whos openly gay you dont think that person could get elected sheriff.
And what about Legend? Why him?
Hes someone people regularly refer to as the new Marvin Gaye. . . . And hes also working on some Bono-esque initiatives in Africa.
You worked in politics, went to law school, and then ran and sold a tutoring and test-prep company. When did you decide to go into TV?
I got a call out of the blue from someone who had seen me being interviewed when I was running my company. It literally was a guy from ABC whose job it was to find unusual people to get into television. He said, Have you ever thought about it? And I said, No. And he said, If you did, what would you consider doing? And I said, I used to love the Barbara Walters things. I used to enjoy watching Charlie Rose. But I thought it would be great if there was a more modern version.
What do you mean by more modern?
I think from Barbara Walters we learned the value of going to people. You dont see many shows that go to people. But I think we have a broader array of guests. I think you can see from the breadth of the guests we have that were right upfront, recognizing that this is a generation interested in a whole broad range of things. Theyre following presidential politics, but also doing online dating and everything in between.
When you started out in TV, you worked a lot for CNN. What was your baptism by fire?
Every time you go on live, whether youre squaring off against Bill OReilly or Catherine Crier or youre talking to Wolf Blitzer or Dennis Miller, youve got to be on your A game.
Any early blunders?
So many that I cant even tell you one. Im still always nervous. Theres always sweat.
How many T-shirts do you wear under your button-down?
Just one. And you dont always have a button-down. Sometimes youve got to go light and easy. If youre driving with Jeff Gordon, youre not wearing a button-down. You know what I mean?
So I guess the better question is: What kind of deodorant do you use?
Arrid Extra Dry.