Gratuitous! (Works For CBS News)

Well, you can’t land Barack Obama every week (Steve Kroft’s Nov. 17 interview with Obama brought 60 Minutes its best ratings in nine years). Still, putting Anderson Cooper in a pool (though not in a Speedo; Cooper wore board shorts) to race Michael Phelps seems a tad Today Show (Early Show, I guess) for 60 Minutes, no?

(I missed this on Sunday night —I blame the NFL and my DVR— but an inhouse tipster brought it to my attention. “Like we didn’t know how that race was going to turn out?” I believe the tipster said. And then we had some fun imagining assorted other 60 Minutes correspondents doing this segment. Think shingled bathing caps and nose plugs).

And… it was enough to earn 60 Minutes a bronze. The show was the third most-watched network prime time offering last week. Imagine what CBS News producers are cooking up for The Coop next.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.