By David Bauder
NEW YORK –Newsman Ed Gordon has returned to BET for a weekly public affairs program partly because the network has changed and mainstream Sunday punditry hasn’t.
He’s hosting “Weekly With Ed Gordon,” a Sunday interview and discussion program that resembles the “Meet the Press” format on broadcast networks, yet with stories and guests of particular interest to the black community. Gordon will also do a more in-depth interview program four times a year.
Gordon hasn’t worked for BET since 2002, when the network canceled his “BET Tonight” interview show and other news programming because of money losses and a declining interest to the youthful audience it was targeting.
“It’s one of those places that fits like an old shoe,” said Gordon, who worked at NBC News, CBS News and National Public Radio while away from BET. “It’s comfortable.”
He said he didn’t harbor bitterness from his exit eight years ago, although he stretched out his return negotiations to make sure BET was truly committed to news when he was first contacted about a return more than a year ago.
“If you’re going to be in this business, to hang on to bitterness when people cancel your show would be wrong,” he said. “I remember years ago seeing an interview with Regis Philbin and he said, ‘If you’re in this business, you’ve got to be ready to be fired.”’
Gordon’s weekly show airs at noon on Sundays.
Gordon’s quarterly show, “Conversations With Ed Gordon,” debuted Sept. 26 with a Steve Harvey interview. He’s keeping the shows less frequent to ensure meaningful guests, he said.
“You don’t want to get the fourth or fifth interview with somebody who does ‘Dancing With the Stars,”’ he said.