Pigeon in a Crosswalk
"Pigeon in a Crosswalk" author Jack Gray (Simon & Schuster) admits, "It would not be unprecedented for me to throw the name of one Anderson Cooper around." But that's acceptable because Gray is an Emmy-winning producer for CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, he knows and loves the Coop, and his book about career and personal highlights is one hilarious gay romp through celebrity encounters both show-biz and news-biz.
The roll call of the famous begins with Joan Kennedy cracking wise about her in-laws and CNN anchor John Roberts doing whip-its at work, but quickly goes Hollywood ("Ricky Gervais stopped by our table, because that's what happens when I agree to go somewhere other than Olive Garden") and NYC (Gray's dog Sammy "once tried to sniff Calvin Klein as he walked by"). Along the way he has Twitter feuds with Star Jones ("If you're ever tempted to make a Twitter joke about Star Jones, I'd suggest you reconsider and find a more relaxed subject, like the Taliban") and finds solidarity with other urban survivors (the squab of the title).
Gray was an on-site producer for CNN's New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin for the now-famous incident when, inadvertently live on air, Griffin shouted to some loud hecklers in Time Square, "Shut up! You know what, screw you, I'm working. I don't go to your job and knock the dicks out of your mouth!"
"No one remembers anything else from that night," writes Gray. "No one recalls that the show that year also featured a performance from a musician who, at that point, was still unknown to many people. I wonder whatever happened to that Lady Gaga."
He also has a good perspective on broadcasting inanities. "What bothers me is how news organizations pander to people using social media. It's one thing to say, 'Hey, here's our Twitter address, follow us for breaking news alerts.' It's quite another to solicit tweets and Facebook comments from random people and then read them on-air as if they're crucial. You might as well just say, 'Our show sucks but stay tuned because we might say your name on TV.'" And remember to "like" us on Facebook.