Interview: NY1 Morning Anchor Pat Kiernan


Like most folks, we’re fans of NY1 morning anchor Pat Kiernan, whom we named “Best New York Canadian” a few years back. Pat’s daily “In the Papers” segment is a pleasing ritual, as is his bantering relationship with reporter Roger Clark, ever-affable as he checks in from odd locales around town. Ever curious about Pat, we sent him along a few questions — about TV, rising in the dark, and that vast, appealing land mass to our north.

You have to get up at a dreadfully early hour. Can you describe your morning routine?

I’m up just before 3. I could probably cut it closer but fear that I would still be drowsy on TV. I have a good breakfast. I check in on e-mail with our NY1 producers to see what’s happened while I’m sleeping. I also check in with my story editor for, who is already up gathering stories for me to include in my webcast. It’s off to NY1 at 4 a.m., and we’re pre-taping some segments by 4:30.

Do you have a favorite “In the Papers” moment, from all your time doing it?

I’m not sure why I enjoy subtle so much, but my favorite moments are when I come up with a gag that’s barely perceptible to half of the audience. Like the Dora-inspired “Swipers, no swiping!” on a story about illegal Metrocard use. Or my off-the-cuff mention that I drive a compact car–after detailing a study about men who buy big SUVs to compensate for their anatomical shortcomings.

Tell us a good Roger Clark story.

They usually involve obscure pop-culture references. Or singing. Like the time we joined together for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Do you have a theory as to why Canadians do so well in American TV news? Two of your morning competitors at CNN–John Roberts and Ali Velshi–are also Canadians.

I co-hosted a business news show on CNNfn with Ali for four years, so it’s tough to think of him as a competitor. But he and John and I all started our careers in an environment where there is much less producer support for the anchor. Canadian newsrooms are leaner. Anchors often produce their own shows. That forces you to really know your content, and that eventually comes across on TV.

Why are Canadians funnier than Americans?

Canadians have a subtle, sarcastic brand of humor. I didn’t realize it was as distinct as it is until I’d lived in New York for a few years. But now when I visit Canada, I notice quirky TV commercials that are really funny, but wouldn’t get approved in “safe” corporate America. I suspect you think we’re all funny because that happens to be your kind of humor.

Should the next NHL “Winter Classic” be the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadians?

Canadians don’t need to be sold on hockey. (And we’ve all played hockey outside.) It would be smarter for the NHL to keep using the event to promote the game in the U.S.

You’ve also hosted a few game shows in your TV career. If you were suddenly hired to emcee Match Game ’09, which celebrities would you want on your panel?

Richard Dawson: He was brilliant on the original Match Game. So I’d have to bring him back as panelist emeritus.
Miss Teen South Carolina: I’ve been eager to check back in on her since the dismal “some people out there in our nation don’t have maps” interview. I think she could be good fun if asked to fill in the blanks on Match Game.
George Clooney: He picks interesting movies and does them well. He’s a great interview. I’d enjoy seeing him in this environment.
Katie Couric: I sat next to her on a flight a few weeks ago and was reminded of her wit. We don’t get to see that side of her as often as we did when she was at NBC. But I suspect she’d have great fun with Match Game.
David Letterman: I know–it’s not likely that he’d agree to do it. But he’d be good.
Roger Clark: See aforementioned pop culture expertise of my NY1 colleague. Let’s just say I’m confident he’s familiar with the game.

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