Fareed Zakaria "A Host Still In Search Of Himself": Critic

07/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jon Caramanica Los Angeles Times

THE QUALITY of an interview has, naturally, a great deal to do with the quality of the interviewer. But it may have just as much to do with the perceived quality of the interviewer. In other words, is the person asking the questions worthy of receiving a greater-than-usual dose of truth?

Fareed Zakaria, host of the new CNN Sunday talk show "Fareed Zakaria GPS" (10 a.m.), comes to that battle well equipped. The editor of Newsweek International, he has been a frequent talking head on a range of shows in recent years (including amusing turns on "The Daily Show") and was, for 2 1/2 years, the host of the PBS talk show "Foreign Exchange With Fareed Zakaria."

On "Fareed Zakaria GPS" (in the show's usage, "GPS" stands for Global Public Square), which premiered June 1, time is split between a longish interview with a key political figure and a round-table discussion, led by Zakaria, with a rotating cast of experts.

Zakaria's status has helped him land high-profile interview subjects in the first weeks of his fledgling show: Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice (billed as Rice's first in-depth television interview in two years). As an interlocutor, Zakaria has a natural calm, and is utterly comfortable discussing the range of foreign crises, from the war in Iraq to Ireland's recent rejection of the Treaty of Lisbon, which would have paved the way for the creation of a president of the European Union, among other reforms.

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