Was advanced age the critical factor in the career-ending Helen Thomas incident? Because the Which-Retirement-Resistant-
Journalist-Media-Figure-Will-Helen-Thomas-Next Watch is on.
At TVNewser, Gail Shister writes this of 60 Minutes’s Andy Rooney, 92:
Given the recent public flameout of 89-year-old Helen Thomas, some say Rooney should leave the party before he suffers the same fate.
Rooney’s musings “too often are the discomforting ramblings of an old man…,” writes TV critic Ed Bark. “Hanging on like this is unseemly. Rooney has made his mark and then some. He should give someone else a chance to end ‘60 Minutes’ on their own terms.”
Not gonna happen, says Rooney, whose wry, two-minute sermonettes cover topics ranging from the amount of coffee in coffee cans to the demise of the “funny papers” (newspaper comic strips) to who is Lady Gaga.
(While Shister attributes the “time for Rooney to go” sentiment to Bark, she contributes this tidbit: “Contract-wise, Rooney says he doesn’t even remember the last time he signed one, but he thinks it was five or six years ago.”)
Here is David Carr’s ominous conclusion to his column yesterday on the who, how, and when already of 78-year-old Larry King’s succession at CNN:
A year of occasional substitutes just might yield a worthy, and viewer-friendly, successor. As it is, Mr. King has been left to dangle, battered by tabloid reports, sliding ratings and his own daily battle to anchor the show five days a week. The more legendary the talent, the more delicate the endgame. Think of Helen Thomas’s exit, which did not end well for anyone.Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.