Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

host must set his guests at ease, but Walken looked un­com­fort­able. Maybe Ross should spend an evening go­ing through tapes show­ing how the fam­ily do it in The Ku­mars at No 42, whose guests al­ways seem to en­joy them­selves.

Ross could also do him­self a favour by go­ing through old tapes of the Parkin­son and Wo­gan shows. Both were al­ways the soul of po­lite­ness and let their guests take the lion’s share of the spot­light. Parky was also good at touch­ing a raw nerve in a guest so gen­tly that his “vic­tim” hardly took of­fence.

He once in­ter­viewed the Queen of Mean, Anne Robin­son, and re­ferred to the ef­fects of her drink­ing on her fam­ily and ca­reer.

“But that was 25 years ago,” she whined, but took no of­fence.

An­other talk show host who could ben­e­fit from watch­ing tapes of how the oldies did it is Ellen DeGeneres. I think she has a sloppy script ed­i­tor, weak di­rec­tor, or both.

Re­cently Ellen had Joan Rivers on her show, but the host­ess loused it up with inane com­ments and bung­ing it all into a few min­utes. You just don’t do that with Rivers.

I re­mem­ber see­ing a Wo­gan spe­cial in which Rivers was his only guest. She broke the au­di­ence up – Wo­gan in­cluded – while she tore into El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor, Shel­ley Win­ters, Tina Turner and mem­bers of the Onas­sis fam­ily. In the au­di­ence were the Em­manuels who de­signed Princess Diana’s wed­ding dress, and Rivers got stuck into them too.

Leno is a re­li­able talk show host, but maybe I’m prej­u­diced. He loves cars – and so do I.

In New York I saw peo­ple queu­ing round the block to get into a tap­ing of a Let­ter­man show. I find him drea­rily sober, a kind of re­formed vicar. It’s hard to be­lieve he se­duced his fe­male staff.

But my all-time worst is Oprah. You wanna sell some­thing new? Get on to Oprah. Writ­ten a new book? Get on to Oprah. She’ll turn it into a best-seller. And when she backed Barack Obama, you knew he’d be pres­i­dent. But it’s Oprah’s blab­ber­mouth pitch that gets me. What’s the bet she could cor­ral all the sheep in Aus­tralia if she had to?

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