What I’ve Been Watching: John Barron

Planet America's John Barron is a fan of Homeland, Succession ...and Dean Martin.

Planet America returns to ABC News for a new series tonight.

John Barron, who co-hosts with Chas Licciardello, is a fan of Homeland, Succession …and Dean Martin.

Here’s what else is on his Watchlist.

What shows are on your must-see TV list lately?
JB: I’ve been catching up on a few programs I missed when I couldn’t turn away from Trump coverage on cable TV long enough to watch anything for entertainment sake. Right now I’m binging season five of Homeland and absolutely loving it, although it’s so realistic I sometimes can’t remember if something happened on it or in the real world. 1’ve also been enjoying the Murdoch-esque dramedy Succession and catching up on New Girl and Special for something lighter.

How has lockdown affected your viewing?
JB: I’m always tuning back in to ABC News channel and the ABC 7pm bulletin to find out the latest on the lockdown. Maybe because I’m now fully vaccinated I’m less anxious this year than during lockdown-2020 when I couldn’t watch anything with an emotional punch without feeling a bit overwhelmed. Or maybe it’s because Trump has gone… my god his crazy daily COVID briefings last year nearly killed me!

Which guilty pleasure show are you reluctant to admit to watching?
JB: I spend waaaaaaay too much time watching old episodes of things like The Dean Martin Show, Dick Cavett and Johnny Carson on Facebook. The gender and racial politics of that time – late 60’s-to-early 80’s were sometimes appalling, but it’s a good reminder that a lot of things have changed for the better. Plus, there are some genuinely clever and very talented performers, Jonathan Winters, Don Rickles even old guys like Jack Benny and Groucho Marx were still around – and as a host Cavett was very much ahead of his time..

When you settle down for a night on the couch what are your ‘must-haves?’
JB: At the moment I make sure the fire is lit, our Labrador George is curled up next to me on the sofa, a hefty glass of Pinot is poured and a bowl of pistachios is at hand. George also likes pistachios. I try to leave my phone and screens in another room, otherwise I’ll be distracted and miss stuff when they ping at me.

What show you would secretly love to appear on?
JB: Well assuming time travel is no problem, I’d start with a guest spot on The Dean Martin Show – he was probably an even greater comedian than singer, and by all accounts a very nice guy who despite the persona wasn’t even much of a drinker. I would then want to do a cameo on MASH – I’d probably get cast as a shell-shocked soldier who shoots himself to go home. As for current shows, Stephen Colbert for sure – he’s the new Dick Cavett.

With the change in Presidency, does Planet America also gravitate to a new mood, new segments or discussion?
JB: We are still watching an extraordinary period in history unfold. Much of the world heaved a collective sigh of relief when Trump lost, but when he refused to accept defeat he lit a fuse that could still cause massive damage to America. Biden is such a contrast, he’s turned down the volume and he’s getting some things done. So there’s still lots to discuss – often in greater depth, but it’s like eating whole foods after a junk food diet – you occasionally miss the sugar rush!

Planet America returns 8pm tonight on ABC News

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