tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg August 8, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charley: bryant gumbel is here. he is one of television's best broadcasters. he was with nbc for more than two thing decades where he hosted the today show for 15 has todecades where he the today show for 15 years. he joined cbs in 1997 on both his own primetime program and the early show. since 1995, he hosted hbo's real sports with bryant gumbel. the monthly magazine program has won numerous awards including 28 sports emmys and a peabody in 2012.
it doesn't get any better than that. i am pleased to have bryant gumbel at this table. welcome. bryant: the last time we did this was 1999? charley: i don't even remember the 90's. bryant: it was right after my bar mitzvah. [laughter] it's a wonderful broadcast. i've got a lot of really good people. it is a great place to work. it has been a lot of fun. frame ofwhat is your mind today? you've got real sports, it's a great program. it is a good place to be. hbo pays you well. is that it for you? so,n: -- bryant: i think charlie. you and i have talked about this. enjoy working in the mornings,
as you presently do. had my time and my mindset, my way of doing things doesn't really fit with the way things are done now. charlie: would you say that you could slip out tomorrow and no one would notice the difference? i would say they would. charlie: how are you different now? bryant: i'm much more easy going. if somebodyday, said something that set me off i was eager to fight and more than willing to mix it up. i'm more inclined now to say, you're an idiot, i will let you be an idiot. charlie: you have a great marriage. bryant: i have a wonderful marriage. my friends always told me i picked my coverage. hillary has been wonderful for me. she has been terrific. charlie: there is no ambition left in you? bryant: i have a lot of envision, charlie. -- ambition, charlie.
i still like being engaged with smart people. i still like discussions and conversations. i just don't feel the need to do them in public. i don't have that overriding ambition for everybody to know what i am thinking. it is not that important to me. it really isn't. i'm happy to have discussions with friends and acquaintances, people at dinner. but the idea of getting in front of a camera and engaging people on any and everything and fighting them tooth and nail, i don't have that anymore. i don't. charlie: you do have that about sports. more thane sports as simply, as you will, it is not about the score, at the end of the day, it is about the culture. sports are culturally
relevant. sports is about real sports like rocky was about boxing. boxing was the vehicle to tell them about hopes and dreams in class and ambition and disappointment. and real sports uses sports as a vehicle to talk about race and gender and class and education and societal norms and politics and finance and everything else. that often gets overlooked. charlie: let's talk sports. tom brady. bryant: what would you like? i think the most amusing thing for me is that people are so concerned about deflated footballs and you cannot get their attention on serious stuff. charlie: concussions? things like that? bryant: yeah. charlie: don't you think the nfl is trying now on concussions?
bryant: i think they are eager to get past the problem. i'm not going to say they don't care. do i think it is their priority? i don't get the feeling. charlie: if they don't do something about it -- bryant: it will be their financial downfall. i think in that respect they care. charlie: but they care about the shield, as they say. which is why they care about brady and all that. bryant: yes, which is why they are probably delighted right now. everybody is preoccupied with what they like to call deflategate because they are not talking about the other stuff that we generally do. charlie: like what? like domestic violence? bryant: domestic violence, concussions. charlie: how many shows have you done on concussions? bryant: too many. charlie: and you would say not enough? bryant: i would say i am happy
we have brought it to the floor as often as we have and i think we have done a responsible job. charlie: have you made a difference? have they changed in response to the kinds of things you have pointed out? bryant: i don't think it is what we pointed out, the problem is so deep that at a certain extension you feel like you're spitting water at the ocean. i don't know. i'm not necessarily sure you can have the game without it. charlie: without hard knocks? bryant: that's exactly right. if you made me gone tomorrow -- charlie: we would play touch football. bryant: no, i would take the facemasks off. i think it is going to be the rare individual who leads with his head who doesn't have a facemask. you will wind up with a lot of busted noses and broken teeth, bloody lips, but i suspect you will have fewer people leading with their head.
i guess. charlie: the interesting thing to me -- you know roger as well -- the most important thing for them is the reputation of the nfl. bryant: yes, they are very protective of the shield. they care a lot about public opinion. charlie: did they change sufficient for you because of all the trouble they got into about ray rice, on domestic violence? butnt: they made mistakes, i'm not necessarily sure there is an easy way out on this. they can't get ahead of legal process. you can't deny somebody due process. as a result, if they have a charge against them, the public may want roger to jump in and suspend the guy immediately. until he is -- has gone through the system and he is found guilty, what are you supposed to do?
you can't deprive somebody of their living. so i'm not sure there is an easy way out for them on that. to what extent the problem is inherent and the people who play it, i don't know. i think sometimes it is overstated. we just did a piece recently on the level of domestic violence along the guys involved in mma. mixed martial arts. charlie: high? bryant: compared to the societal norm, yes. but the other thing i was going to add was, compared to the societal norm the nfl is actually less, though it gets a lot of attention. in terms of incidents per 1000 males, it is less. what about one and out? what would you do about that? i guess the problem is
less a college problem than it is a pro problem. in every walk of life the pros play by the same rule, which is if you are talented enough than -- talented enough as a dancer, you can get a job without college. a writer, whatever you want. if a guy coming out of high school is good enough to go into the pros, he should have that opportunity, which would get rid of or certainly minimize the impact of one-and-dones, which came about when the nba past its role -- rule that you have to have at least one year of college. i think it is the biggest injustice in all of sports. charlie: the biggest injustice and all of sports is not paying kids to come out of high school. because they come there to make
money for the university because of the athletic program, generates huge endowments from rich alumni. bryant: they call amateur athletics -- it is amateur only for the guys who are playing, it is not amateur for the coach, not amateur for the school, for the administrators, the university, the networks, the sponsors. it is not amateur for any of them. they are making a meant. mint. it is only amateur for the guys taking the risk. we should find a way to make sure they are fairly compensated for what they are providing. you have this engine that is providing a multibillion-dollar industry. and they are supposedly getting an education for it. but that is done with a wink and a nod. certainly there must be some way of setting up something. charlie: they are also protected
in college, not just about their grades, but also about their conduct. bryant: absolutely. i saw an interesting piece on that's that said, are they treated differently than regular students who follow the law? -- don't want to follow the law? the answer is yes. charlie: why are they treated differently? bryant: because they have access to a lawyer. that's what separates them. that is why they seem to get "preferential treatment." it is not preferential by the name, it is because they have the representation in the american legal system. you have a better chance of being guilty with a great lawyer than being innocent without a good one. charlie: are you going to start giving opinions again? saidissed it and then you -- bryant: it was a dumb thing to
do. charlie: not a dumb thing, because you need my opinion. i have a lot of opinions. you know how much i deprive you. i know how much he needed this. -- you needed this. for 19 years, i have buttoned every show with a brief commentary. i like some of them. charlie: no expect you to hit it out of the park every time. bryant: an boy, i didn't. i guess -- i think the show needs something in the backend the same way that there was something there that people expected. was it always great? no. but it kind of buttoned the program. charlie: remember those natural
scenes at the end, some river or flood? bryant: i think rand morrison -- i think he has done a great job. charlie: he has created a very good show. bryant: it is terrific. nobody in this business is irreplaceable, as we know. but boy, he is close. charlie does a wonderful job. he really does. charlie: he's pretty good on radio. bryant: it's funny, i've never heard him on radio. charlie: really. the story is paul harvey tried to get the two of them together. because you said if you and i can come together as a package, we will own the freaking radio. bryant: my dad was a lawyer first and then a judge. he died in his chambers, april 10th, 1972.
charlie: the most admired man you have ever known? bryant: easily. i have often said it -- it is not a fair world. my dad was brighter than i am, was harder-working than i am. did more for society than i ever did. and yet i would venture to say that in his best year he didn't make what people in television make in a good month. charlie: 441 speech. bryant: -- one speech.for bryant: yes. society is not fair. times change. when i outlived my dad, my dad died at 51. i even counted the days when i passed him.
that's when i really setback -- sat back -- you always look at your parents -- oh, they are so old. when i passed that time i was like -- he really was young. his 51 years were different in our 51 years. he was a world war ii vet. he died before i ever was on the air. charlie: so he didn't see you. bryant: never. charlie: my father died during night watch. he would watch it every night. he may have been watching it -- he was on a bicycle, like a treadmill. he fell off and the doctor said he was dead by the time he hit the floor. bryant: held was the? charlie: -- bryant: how old was he? charlie: he was 77. he probably was watching me on television. bryant: he was no doubt very proud.
i always tell my friends i would give 20 years of my life to have a round of golf with my dad. my dad never played on a private course, never had a caddy. but he made it possible for me to do all those things. charlie: and you could take him to any course in the world and play. bryant: yeah, and he loved it. he made it possible for me to enjoy that. i pray -- i play a private clubs and have caddies and everything else. boy, he would have loved that. ♪
♪ charlie: morning shows, what is wrong with them? bryant: i don't know that there is anything wrong with them. everybody who does one likes to leave -- believe theirs is better than the one that followed. times change. i agree with what you are saying. times change. audiences change. whether they are responding to the audience or we should be telling the audience what is important is a debate we can have forever. they are not as substantive as they once were. would an audience sit there for that now? i don't know. i can remember having a 20 minute conversation with the reverend ralph abernathy on the today program. charlie: but you went through a couple of commercial breaks or
not? bryant: yeah, ran through a bunch of stops. i'm not sure the public would sit through that kind of thing anymore. charlie: jeff zucker? bryant: no, this probably goes back further than that. this was probably steve friedman. i just ran for the stop sign. charlie: one of the bigger mistakes they make as they will -- is that they will dump out something really good for something that is not quite as good because it was programmed that way. -- weigh them -- bryant: they are not equal. i don't get everybody sitting there and weighing in. you know? ok, this happened do we really , need six people to say that was great fun? no. charlie: no, you don't.
the big advantage you had is the opportunity to do a lot of one-on-one stuff. that is the way the program was designed. unless you are going off to do a piece outside the studio. outside the studio you can do 1000 one on ones. but at that table, it is not what it is about. bryant: i did a five-part interview with david stockman when he was reagan's financial guru. i can't imagine now a morning program doing a five-part series of interviews with president obama's chief financial advisor. i can't imagine. charlie: we would do five different shows. five segments. bryant: but all different. charlie: no, same guy.
we could do that, we would do that, and in fact, i'm arguing for that. cia, joe brown of the biden. bryant: the other big change is the morning show has been a progression thing. the heaviest stuff goes in the first half hour and you get progressively lighter. i remember for years there we were still talking about the mid east peace prospects in the third half hour. now a lot of shows i have watched go to the latest makeover in the first half hour. i'm kind of out of step. charlie: it is no secret you like the work we are doing because you like news. bryant: yes i do, and i send you notes all the time. why did you do such and such?
charlie: peter jennings used to watch this all the time. the idea to talk with some of the one-on-one -- bryant: everybody's dream. charlie: except it came with criticism, came with applause, came with judgment. i interviewed somebody wants, peter called me up and said, how could you do that? and then the next night he would call up and say, you should be there the rest of your life. bryant: you get this -- what happens is when you like a broadcast you become proprietary about it. you are kind of offended when it goes off the rails, which is something you don't want. it's kind of like, hey, put it back where i wanted. charlie: but you like having leisure time. bryant: i do. charlie: beyond playing golf? you want to take hillary out and do a lot of things together? bryant: i like doing things that
i didn't get to do for the first -- i'm fond of saying time is like closet space. you have to get your fill. i fill mine. i feel like i enjoy. -- i do something that i enjoy. charlie: here's my argument with you. here it comes. without sucking up to you, you've got a lot of talent. you have strongly held views about this world that we live in. i think you have the unique ability to communicate that. you are -- you know how to grasp an issue and you know how to understand it and communicate it. i think you owe it to us. i would say the same thing to marlon brando about acting. and i did.
bryant: first of all, i'm grateful. charlie: i would say to him, if you are content with acting, i don't want this conversation to go one step further. bryant: first of all, i think you. secondly, in fairness to all of the people on television, they are kind enough to come knocking and ask. they asked about various programs. you can come on in the night you want to. in fact, i'm getting ready to go on vacation -- bryant: i like doing one-on ones like this. my buddy says you could do a show called, "get off of my lawn." because that's the way you are now. look, i still like being engaged. i just don't feel an overwhelming need to do it in public. is anything ever enough? you are right, there are times
when i see things happening in the public sector or in politics or on the racial front, where i say, boy, oh boy, do i wish i had a forum because i would like to come swinging. charlie: we will give you one tomorrow if you want it. that's all you can do. -- you've got to do. bryant: i don't know. morning,come friday , the debate with the small "d" on thursday night. oh my goodness, letterman said the day after trump announced, he was sorry he was quitting. that is the way i feel sometimes when i see what is passing for dialogue out there. charlie: what would you be doing andou had both the desire
the forum? bryant: probably a broadcast like this. my standard wine has been -- line has been people are fond of , asking who is a good review -- good interviewer and who is a bad interviewer? a good interview is somebody who says it well. a bad interviewer is somebody who has nothing to say but says it poorly. the idea of having people who have something to say and say it well, i think it is fun, it is engaging, it is interesting, it is substantive, it is socially helpful. it is what tv should be. not the freak show that is often out there. charlie: what about john stewart leaving this week? bryant: obviously, he has done a marvelous service. this takes me the oddball in the room -- i've never been a watcher.
i'm an admirer. charlie: were you in bed by letterman? bryant: no, i just don't find myself turning on the tv much. i like to read. charlie: you didn't watch co. but -- colbert either? no, i'm just on a tv watcher. -- not a tv watcher. charlie: are you doing anything new with your life? bryant: seems like everything i do is new in my life. charlie: but i mean you are reading and playing golf. i do stupid things like this summer, hillary and i are doing the new york vacation. we are doing things we never did. charlie: see the area of ask -- ariondacks and all that? bryant:
oddly enough i have never been to the frick. it's wonderful. it's now my favorite museum. --metto the moma, the net . charlie: the great thing about the city is you can spend a different night in new york in a different country. if you want to be in the dominican republic, there are neighborhoods where all the people are dominican, all the food is dominican, and the whole culture -- bryant: an op-ed in the times two weeks ago was talking about travel. my father-in-law and i got engaged in conversation about this. it is hard when you live in new york to jump up and go somewhere else, because you can say, i can do it here. there is nothing i'm going to buy in paris or london or anywhere that i can't buy in manhattan. i'm going to get the food that's better. the only thing i'm not going to get is the experience. it becomes difficult.
manhattan offers so much. charlie: you could be on the water somewhere. i was thinking about all that, because i just got back from the south of france. this is as interesting and as good, except french villages which are different, unique, and the food and the attitude. bryant: you have to go out the villages. you had to go out and stay with them. no radio, no tv, no phone. we lived there for a little while. charlie: if i was an editor today and came to you with a television program, i would say to you helped me understand what it's like from a young black man's perspective, this clash with blue on black.
help us understand that. bryant: is one of those things you can't talk about it but until you have been there -- it is funny you should have said this because before i sat down here i reached to that paper on your left. and in the washington post there is a columnist, a young woman, in the c-section. i didn't mean it that way. she got stopped and she happens to be white. it escalated and got somewhat out of control with the officers screaming at her to get back in the car.
and she was left with an impression that i'm sure no amount of discussion could have ever revealed to her until she went through it, when you are a person of color and go through it, it is a frightening exercise. my son has been arrested for walking while black. i get it. you can't buy your way out of it. you can't educate your way out of it. charlie: is it happening too much or do we had least know about it now? bryant: too often people are inclined to say if he had a different attitude, if he hadn't been driving, almost as if the victim is partially to blame. he shouldn't have resisted in the case of brown. in the case of sondra bland, her
attitude. stop. this has nothing to do with the victims. this has everything to do with the culture of the meaning a person of color. there is no justification for society where my son has a far greater chance of being stopped, held, killed then your son simply because he's black. there's no amount of discussion that is ever going to impress that on someone. charlie: i think you should give me 20% of your life and i will fill in for you. thank you for coming. bryant: it's always a pleasure.
all of us knows nothing about it, about its poetry, about its inspiration. how did you discover it and say i have to make a movie? salma: i discovered it because my grandfather always had the book on his bedside table. i was sort of haunted by this drawing of a man and associated it with my grandfather. he died when i was six. it was the first traumatizing experience with death. when i was 18 i found that book in someone's house. it was the first time i could read it and i knew it was the same book. about love, about everything. and a little about him and who he was.
that doesn't mean he makes a good movie. this book doesn't have a story. i thought it was important to highlight these things today and it would make a great movie. it is important to highlight that the writer wrote a book that had 120 million copies sold. different crees, people from all over the world. charlie: you think it has a built-in international audience. salma: i think it has an audience. i want to remind the world that it was an arab man who wrote a book about philosophy.
i think this is a nice thing to think about. it talks to a part of you that when you hear it, it almost sounds familiar not because you heard it before but because it is a simple truth about the simple things in life, that brings us all together. when she came out of the movie she told me. she was proud of me and then she went on to write a poem about how we are free and therefore we never die and are eternal.
she made a drawing. she's coming out of the tomb and dancing among the rest of the family. charlie: everybody takes something different from it. salma: our children are growing up to be consumers. and everything we show them has everything digested for them. same for us. it takes you into a journey eight times through the film. it is always surprising when you are going to come and you don't know what they are going to look
like you all different kinds of techniques of the nations. this journeys inside yourself. everybody is going to find something different. charlie: you think this filing some of the rules -- salma: it is a movie made out of a philosophy -- the author is arabic. you want unique and different styles. it was impossible and we had no script at the beginning. it was really difficult. i also had this crazy idea to make a philosophy of making the book -- the same philosophy of the principles the book holds.
we have animators from all religions, different ages, all over the world, because the movie is also about freedom. i thought it was apportioned each one of them had absolute freedom to create what they want. charlie: your husband supported it at the end. sounding i had one week before i would give the investors a door out. we were the people that one of the banks helped us from lebanon. and then -- charlie: they said i believe in you. salma: he. charlie: heels and said, it is an interesting marriage, he really insisted that you work. he knew you would not be happy otherwise.
otherwise he would not have been happy if you are not working. salma: i don't think so. one of the things he fell in love with me is my passion for what i do. he didn't want me turning into someone he didn't marry. we are both independent. i won't let him participate in a lot of the things i'm in. i have to work hard to make a living to pay those bills. charlie: you met him -- that was a determination on your part. you had to put that movie on the
screen. salma: it was a way for me to show a part of mexico's history people are not aware. it was a fertile time for art and ideology. people don't think of mexico is a sophisticated place. trotsky was leaving there. charlie: unfortunately for trotsky. salma: he would have been killed anywhere and he had a good time.
charlie: you a very good director. salma: yes you everything that i do as a producer is very visual. freda was very important. one of the things i loved about the story that i wanted people to be inspired by was her courage to be unique. who better than julie taymor to be unique. this lion king connection -- the story comes from the perspective of the little girl. roger does a great job. it is simple, it feels very earthy.
he understands global audiences very well. i think it was the best choice for this part of the story. in regard to crazy artists that are really extraordinary that tell the poems. it is great because the children understand the poetry through images. even if they don't understand all the words they understand all the conceptual images. charlie: this is an adaptation, and animation, of "on love." ♪ charlie: -- the mother of l
in a way that is like a conversation with a little child. he didn't even look at the script because he knew all the poems i heart. charlie: whenever you are sitting in the first certain rows you always raise your hand because you like to speak, you are passionate about public issues. one of the interesting things you have said and conferences in which i have participated is you strongly make the argument that to defeat isis what we have to do speak to the young people who are joining isis or other groups. at the same time when we have to do is provide an alternative so they are not the word to find their own identity, yes? salma: that -- if they are leeward to find their own
identity, it means they are not their own identity. they are not exposed to a simulation that will make them come up with their own sense of purpose. but they are easily brainwashed. i believe young people today don't have enough of this stimulation. they think smartly about their own purpose. our future is in their hands. one of the things people said about this movie, they say you people are not interested in a philosophy. this is a big mistake. they are underestimated. it is not just about entertaining them.
we have to find materials that inspire them and inspire them to think outside the box. we cannot keep repeating the same patterns in history. charlie: are you took in about your film that will inspire them? salma: my film will inspire them, but we must find different ways. my film will inspire them to think on their own and to appreciate life. we try to entertain ourselves from life, away from life, instead of really pondering upon life. there is a part of them that has not been fed. charlie: if i ever met a self-starter, it is you. you're prepared to do whatever it takes, whatever role you need to accept to make something happen. you're prepared to do what it is. agreed?
salma: yes. a charlie: where does that come from? salma: a sense of conviction. when someone else wants to say -- it is a good exercise for keeping in touch with your amp at the end learning to be many different characters. when i'm going to go through the trouble of producing, which is a pain in the neck, because it is something i want to say that i have a conviction over and i believe in, every single time they told me it is not that it is impossible, this will never happen, and nobody will like it. charlie: what did you say? i said let's see.
and i have been right every time. i hope i'm right with this one too. may i convince me i confess something? i have stage fright very badly. i go to psychoanalysis. i will make this confession. it is my shrink that tells me you must make a question in front of everyone. it terrifies me, but i have all these questions in my head. it is an exercise. i don't have a lot of questions and i want some answers. and usually they don't answer my questions. charlie: so you are in pursuit of the answer to the question you have. salma: it is an act of bravery to raise my hand. charlie: keep asking questions. the prophet opens on august 7.
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