Monday, September 22, 2014

BRILLIANT. Robyn Curnow is anchoring on CNN International - and the result couldn't be more ... unexpectedly amazing.

"Shock" would probably be a good word to describe watching Robyn Curnow as an anchor on CNN International (DStv 401).

She is that great.

Not that anybody thought that South Africa's Robyn Curnow wouldn't be able to make the transition from CNN correspondent in Johannesburg to behind the anchor desk at CNN International, but her simply tour de force presentation and delivery with gravitas is simply brilliant to behold.

Robyn Curnow anchored The World Right Now on Monday night on CNN International and if you had to find even the smallest fault it would be that she was too good. Brilliant in fact.

Full disclaimer: Robyn Curnow is South African and this writer and TV critic happens to be a South African too.

Yet I'm not saying Robyn Curnow as a CNN International anchor is amazing because of any country or nationalistic affiliation or affinity. It's because she really is.

It's quite surprising seeing Robyn Curnow coming across as incredibly solid, hugely grounded, looking terrifically at ease, exuding a massive amount of confidence (not in herself but in delivering the news and interviewing news makers) and taking it all in her stride.

What's so incredible, is that Robyn Curnow comes across as if she's been doing it for years.

Her anchoring on CNN International blends freshness and a nuanced, yet natural newsey relatableness. Her questions of news makers and other CNN contributors and correspondents were succinct, clear and on point.

On Monday night it felt and looked as if Robyn Curnow was an Olympic swimmer. One who've been swimming and practising for years and who suddenly got dropped in a new bigger pool - yet one who completely unperturbed, is still swimming laps around everyone else.

As a viewer watching, it not only felt as if Robyn Curnow was driving the car, you felt instantly "safe" in the car - and it felt as if the car is going somewhere, not just aimlessly trying to go forward another mile, trying to fill another 10 minutes of satellite TV air.

There was sense, there was purpose, there was direction.

Whoever decided to elevate Robyn Curnow from CNN correspondent to CNN International anchor made the right decision.

This TV critic thought it would be a huge loss for South Africa and CNN International to lose her amazing background knowledge, contacts and skill set on the ground in Johannesburg, especially after her superb ongoing reporting from South Africa especially during the tumultuous, numerous big news events of 2013.

And it probably is.

Yet it turns out that Robyn Curnow as CNN anchor is just as good as Robyn Curnow the CNN International correspondent - in a really great new way.

Sometimes, some people are just able to fit various different molds all well - like the head girl who also "just" happens to be the captain of the netball team, who also "just" happens to be the academic dux pupil.

Until you realise "just" has nothing to do with it.

Perhaps hours and hours of practice, on-air anchor coaching and lessons to discern a cat baby meow from 15 other voices all screaming and talking and the same time in an earpiece took place. Perhaps none or very little.

What's undeniable is that Robyn Curnow is instantly, fully, solid CNN International TV news anchor material. Strikingly so.