ETP caught up with affable Fox Business "Happy Hour" host Cody Willard last night at the Financial Times' 5th annual "Meet the FT" party at the Top of the Rock Weather Room, and it's true, he did say that, and to be fair, we did instantly tell him that it would be our headline. Willard is a friendly, chatty guy and happily gave us an assortment of options for a headline (by "us" I mean ETP and Portfolio's Jeff Bercovici, pictured with Willard, who writes about the encounter here). But he did clarify his statement for us, over the din of the crowd:
WILLARD: When it comes to 'Happy Hour,' the fact is, I don't have any idea what I'm doing. But what I have figured out is this: That all my job is, I'm supposed to prepare every day for the show and to show up and have fun.
ETP: Did you say "show up half-drunk?"
WILLARD: No! The quote is, I'm supposed to prepare every day, to show up and have fun.
ETP: Ohhh. I thought you said half-drunk.
WILLARD: (Laughs) You guys don't even know, I get drunk during the show, not for the show!
BERCOVICI: Do you guys actually drink alcoholic drinks?
WILLARD: Never. We nev-- That was a joke, we never drink during the show.
We knew he was kidding, because he's a pretty jocular guy. Bercovici had fun asking him about where he gets his haircut and who designs his shoes (Willard was excited to learn that Bercovici had previously been a reporter for Women's Wear Daily, which Willard said he read often and praised as a top trade pub. We're not sure, but we could have sworn that, over the din, we heard Jeff's heart beat faster). I was more interested in when the hair was coming offf - had anyone at Fox ever asked him to cut it, and did his name rhyme with "Schmoger Schmailes?" Willard laughed. "Actually, when I first started [fellow FBNer] Alexis Glick actually wanted me not to cut my hair." I asked if now it was like a Samson thing, with the ratings.
"No - you know what, I'll cut my hair when I want to cut it. It's all on my terms, all the time, right?" Oops. Then we said, "'Cody Willlard, On His Own Terms' - that's the headline" Well, too late to turn back now.
Willard is such a good sport, we're sure he won't mind. He said that he actually will cut his hair, on air, for charity. So maybe the headline is "Cody Willard: Will Cut Hair On Air For Charity." Someone tell TVNewser! Before he left, Willard showed us what his hair would look like short, borrowing the hair elastic from my ponytail and pulling his hair back in one himself. We approved! Then he left, hair still back, newly-gifted hair elastic in place.
Other sightings at the FT event: U.S. Managing Editor Chrystia Freeland, in a red-and-white dress (appropriate attire for a Canadian, which she is); and FT CEO John Ridding, a glass of champagne and a glass of vodka in either hand (though the vodka, he claimed, had been pressed upon him, and he eventually passed it to us to place on a nearby table). Still, it was a great image. Ridding is an old friend of Gawker scion Nick Denton from their days at school together back in the U.K., and he told us that Denton used to walk around in black turtlenecks, which reminded Ridding of Dieter from SNL's Sprokets.
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