Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Disaster
It’s just three weeks into Anderson Cooper’s new daytime adventure, and the show has already devolved into the sort of unscrupulous talk-show tactics that Cooper’s prime-time newsman personality would turn up his nose at: A teenager is in a coma after one of Anderson’s producers encouraged him to record his reckless behavior for a show on the “teenage mind.”
Details are sketchy, but we hear the show booked a teenager to appear on a show about how the adolescent mind works. In advance of his appearance, a source says, a producer “encouraged [the] kid to go out and ‘film the crazy stuff you do.’” In the course of following those instructions, the teen filmed himself skateboarding adventurously and fell, sustaining a severe head injury. We are told he is comatose, and that Cooper is “distraught.” The show never aired.
In a statement, a rep for Anderson confirmed the injury while sidestepping the issue of whether the show bears responsibility for encouraging the kid to act out for the camera:
Our producers were working with a teen and his parents on a show about the science of the Teenage Brain, based on a National Geographic story. As part of our routine process, we ask guests for video footage and photos. We did not provide the family with a camera. On the morning that they were supposed to travel to NYC, we learned that the teen had been injured. We are very concerned about him, and are thinking of him and his family at this time.
Cooper did not immediately respond to an email.
UPDATE: Via a spokesperson, Cooper issued the following statement:
I was very saddened to hear the news of this accident, and want to express my deepest concerns for the teenager who was injured. I take this situation seriously, and my thoughts and prayers for his health, well-being and recovery are with him and his family.
Quite horrible, and I hope this kid recovers fully and quickly. I knew the Anderson show was developing a show about the teen brain, but about this injury I know only what I’ve read in the papers so far, which should be considered provisional and certainly needs more confirmation about both the seriousness of the lad’s injuries and what led to them. Rather hard to know what happened at this point, especially whether the show’s producers encouraged or asked the teen to do any fresh filming or he did it on his own initiative. In any case, it’s an awful situation and I hope he recovers. I’d hate to comment further without knowing more, but I sure wish this kid well.