Erin Burnett’s One Hour Special On India – Truly Must Watch TV on CNBC

Rarely have I liked an India Special on American TV as much as I liked Erin Burnett’s One Hour Special on India. This show aired on CNBC Friday, May 16 at 2 PM on her daily show StreetSigns. CNBC will post clips of this show on http://www.cnbc.com soon. I would strongly encourage all readers to view the segments of this special on cnbc.com.

Erin Burnett did a good job covering Indian stock market and the Indian economy with interviews with the Finance Minister and officials of the National Stock Market. But that is to be expected from a financial anchor. Then she did a small segment on traditional commodity trading in Mumbai, specifically the trading of castor oil by Gujrati merchants. This was a nice touch.

After her rote interview with a Senior Wipro executive, Erin did a lovely interview with a 23-year old employee of Wipro at the main train station in Mumbai about his personal views and goals. A terrific interview and a wonderful human interest piece.  This interview brings alive the strength of today’s India and its great potential. Erin thought so too and highlighted this interview in her closing remarks.

Erin scored big with her segments on Bollywood and Cricket, two topics almost never covered by a European-American TV anchor. She showed a clip of “Chak De” and talked about how the topic of that movie (Women’s Field Hockey) was “near and dear to her heart”. She tried to play Cricket with a boy’s team in Delhi. Then, she went to shop for a saree. She called the saree a “wonderfully sensual” garment and described its many varieties. Then, she tried on a lehenga on TV and claimed she was wearing a saree. She was having a great time doing all this and that made it terrific TV.

Through out the day, she wore a “kurta” on her various CNBC appearances. Well! She wore the same kurta the entire day. If she really understood Bollywood, she would have worn a different kurta for each segment. Erin, just watch a Priyanka Chopra movie, will you!

CNBC and Erin had promoted her special trip to India in a big way. For once, the actual performance was far better than the promo hype. Erin put on a great show and she seemed to be enjoying her experience. Her enthusiasm and excitement were very evident. She is supposed to be a CNBC superstar and she proved it today to me.

I understand that Erin Burnett played field hockey in college and she collected a couple of records doing so.  I believe that one of her records was about getting the most fouls or disqualified goals in a game. 

Well, after such fulsome praise, I am entitled to call a couple of disqualifications or fouls on her. My first disqualification is due to her butchering of the names of virtually all her guests on the special. By the way, this seems to be a CNBC trademark! Before her trip and during today’s promos, Erin talked incessantly about how hard she was working to put on the special, the long hours, the sleepless nights and the whole bit.  Erin, couldn’t you have spent another 30 minutes practicing the pronunciations of names of your invited guests? This is certainly qualifies for one disqualification in my book.

Then, there is the utterly flagrant foul I have to throw for a segment during her conversation from India with her morning co-anchor Mark Haines. This flagrant fowl deserves its own article (see next comment). This foul occurred during the morning show with Mark Haines and not during her One Hour Special on StreetSigns.

So, technically, I can describe her One Hour Special as nearly perfect and as Must Watch TV.

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