We get letters. . . .
Hooray for your article on "Cagney & Lacey." I shout from the rooftops that it is the best show on television, only to have my friends look amused and say: "Oh, isn't that that cop show?" No! It is not. It is much more, as you so carefully pointed out.
"Cagney & Lacey" deserves good press and good ratings. But can't something be done about Tyne Daly's stylized speech manner on this show? Her depth is rich and expressive, but that vulgar New Yahkese makes my skin crawl. How I wish she would talk normal.
One more thing I like about the show is the way they are dressed. They aren't all running around in designer lovelies, but instead went shopping for their clothes the same places I go--Sears, probably.
It's too bad that some men see it only as a show about a couple of "dumb broads." Their loss.
I think it highly unfair for you to lump all interviewers together. Those with a great deal of time to spend with a guest (i.e., Ted Koppel) naturally have a chance to look better than those with five allotted minutes (i.e., Bill Kurtis). To compare the two would be akin to my comparing articles found in People and New Yorker on the same subject. It's easy to look tough, compassionate and thorough when given the luxury of time.
Secondly, I think your generalization on sports interviews unfair. While I'll grant you, there are too many "How do you feel about winning?" efforts, there's a lot of solid work being done. Beyond that, in response to questionnaires, sports fans consistently state their dislike for the kind of "deep" interviews with their heroes that critics like yourself might admire.
A third point: You seem willing to ignore the differences in audiences. Do you really believe (Robert) MacNeil's manner would be effective in the morning? I don't. Would a (Phil) Donahue interview hold prime time's interest? I doubt it. How about (David) Hartman at midnight? Again you've thrown all that into a lump. If you want to know how that feels, ask what your reaction might be if we offered a series comparing the writings of William Saffire, Tom Wicker, David Broder and Howard Rosenberg.
Finally, I agree with you on the looks of the two quite different Nancy Reagan interviews you saw. What I think you don't take into account is that Mrs. Reagan is nonresponsive in direct proportion to the touchiness of the question. Smile and make nice and she'll do the same. Ask a pointed question with some political meaning and she turns monosyllabic. I am not surprised she and David Hartman got on well; nor am I distressed that my interview with her was uncomfortable.
Thanks for at least addressing the matter of interviews. There are so many on TV today that the differences are worth noting. I simply think you'd be better served by broadening your outlook and considering the other factors that enter into the on-air product.
BRYANT C. GUMBEL
We all know that Bryant Gumbel's interviews with the Russians in 1984 had a lot to do with the Russians meeting with Mr. Reagan. Bryant Gumbel is an excellent interviewer and deserves better treatment. But what can one expect from someone like you and your biased feelings?
MRS. EONE YOUNG