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DeSantis Blocks African American Studies Course; Bobby Flay is Interviewed about Dining Out Suffering; Show Revivals After Cancellations. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 19, 2023 - 08:30   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: So, this morning, Governor Ron DeSantis refusing to approve an advanced placement African American studies course to be taught in Florida high schools. In a letter to the college board, the Florida Department of Education, which is part of DeSantis' administration, writes, as presented, the content of this course is inexplicable contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.

Well, DeSantis believes the course promotes critical race theory, which he recently banned from schools under the Stop WOKE Act. In case you were wondering, the acronym stands for wrong for our kids and employees. OK, it prohibits any instruction on race or diversity that suggests a person's status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin or sex.

Sara Sidner joins us now.

Good morning.


LEMON: Lacks educational value. What is it again, wrong to our kids and employees.


LEMON: What is -- what is that?

SIDNER: So, here's the thing. This is an advanced placement course. That's what AP stands for. And this group that approves the AP courses is the same one that, you know, approves the SATs. So this is a group that's been around for a very long time. And their job is to sort of approve the curriculum for AP classes and also administering the SAT.

And so what you have here is a pilot program that 60 schools have looked at, have tried. The one issues is that it hasn't been made publicly available. I would love to get a copy of it and get my hands on it. I think a lot of people would like to see exactly what it is that the Florida Board of Education has a problem with.

But here's the big issue. Let's just call a spade a spade. It's about CRT. It's about critical race theory. And this whole thing has been ginned up between those who believe that it is teaching -- there's a fear that it's teaching white kids to feel bad about being white and teaching black kids that they are naturally oppressed. That is the fear. But that is not what critical race theory is. It is very specific. And it is about - and it's usually used in law schools in college.

But if you look at the advanced placement classes, those classes, you get college credits if you pass the test. So, you could argue either way on this. You could say, look, the AP test is so that kids can think critically. It's critical race theory, not critical race proof, right? And so this is one of those things where it's like, everything is getting conflated. Critical race theory is just a catch-all for anything that someone thinks is bad.

LEMON: Like woke.

SIDNER: Like woke.

And so this is where - but there is a real concern on parent's part about how children are being taught when it comes to race. There is a fear that white children are going to be treated differently, going to be treated worse because they are considered the oppressors and that black children are going to be treated as victims. And that is a real concern of parents. Like, we should not kind of dismiss that because that's - it's there now.

But all of this whole critical race theory argument and this woke argument was actually sort of created. And I want to let you meet the person who really put this on the map. He put it into the president's mouth. He put it - he was on Fox over and over and over again hammering the idea of critical race theory and where this all came from. This did not come from sort of parents and the grassroots level from parents.

Let me - let me let you hear what he says.


SIDNER: You tweeted that it is -- you were going to create something toxic when it comes to the way people think about critical race theory.



SIDNER: That's what you yourself tweeted. Isn't that bad for American.

RUFO: No, that's wrong. That's inaccurate. Yes. Critical race theory is intrinsically toxic. I'm merely revealing it and merely exposing it and I'm merely creating a framework for people to understand it.

But it's not that I've turned critical race theory toxic.


SIDNER: But in his tweet he literally says, we're going to create this -- make this toxic and use it as a catchall for all things that we don't like.

And so that's a real problem when you look back at all of this because people were oppressed in this country and should that not be taught? I think we can teach that and I think people can learn from that. And you're supposed to be thinking critically. So, I -- there's this whole argument that is being made. But this is an advanced placement course. So, what if critical race theory's in it? Who cares? Teach kids to think, not what to think.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And you know who's put at the crossfires of all this - or the crosshairs of all of this is educators.

SIDNER: Absolutely. Absolutely. And they're suffering with this because they're afraid they're going to break the law by saying the wrong thing. What a place to be in, but that's where we are.


COLLINS: Yes, they don't make enough of that.

SIDNER: No, it's true.

COLLINS: My mom's a teacher. She'll tell you.

LEMON: So true.

SIDNER: It's true. It's true. My family are teachers too. It's hard.

LEMON: So different than I was -- when I was in school, back in the dark ages.


LEMON: When we were writing out things on scrolls.


D: Thank you, Sara Sidner. Always a pleasure. Good to see you.


LEMON: OK, egg prices across the country appear to be cooling down after doubling last month for what they cost a year ago. Next, we're going to talk to -- there he is, chef Bobby Flay on how it's impacting how much you are paying at restaurants.


[08:40:45] COLLINS: All right, as many of you know, all of you who are going to the grocery store, egg prices have been up across the United States. But now, potentially, cooling down a little bit this week after they peaked in December. More than double what you were paying for eggs a year ago. A lot of us, though, are still feeling the pain about this and the egg prices at the grocery stores. Higher prices might also mean you pay more when you go to restaurants because owners are trying to battle the rising costs on top of inflation and a worker shortage.

Joining us now is someone who knows all about all of these issues, chef and restauranteur and Food Network personality, Bobby Flay.

Bobby, I mean, this is a big question because, you know, I - Don and I, we've been talking about egg prices with Poppy all week and the fact that they're so high. But they're affecting restaurants because they make other food that you're making go up as well.

So, what are you seeing?

BOBBY FLAY, CHIEF, RESTAURANTEUR, FOOD NETWORK PERSONALITY: Well, I mean, you know, eggs just happen to be the next food commodity in line to have its, you know, its moment of, you know, giant price increase and also scarcity. I mean, and, you know, one causes the other. And so, you know, these things are cyclical. You know, we've seen avocados and bacon and beef, you know, have their moment, you know, the month prior. And they have, you know, they have now, you know, you know, gotten in line.

So, it's like - it's like anything else. You know, at the moment, that's what - that's what's happening with eggs. And, in fact, I thought we were going to see a dollar per egg price at some point. It seems like it's actually sort of coming back in, which is a good sign.

LEMON: Leveling. It's leveling out.

FLAY: Yes.

LEMON: But then - but in the moment it does have an impact when you talk about, you know, food and there was -- you had production issues or what have you with - with food. That impacts restaurants. That impacts prices. And also it impacts people's ability to be able to go out and eat.

FLAY: Yes. I mean, well, don't forget, Don, you know, before we get off the egg issues, I mean, when we think of eggs, you know, of course we start thinking about, you know, eggs in the morning for breakfast and our omelets and our breakfast burritos, et cetera. But eggs are in a lot of things, you know? I mean all the baking. We need to think about baking things. You know, there's flour, sugar, butter and eggs, you know, basically in everything.

And there are eggs - you know, there are substitutes that you can use for eggs. You know, people on vegan diets, people with, you know, egg allergies, obviously, have been doing that for a long time. They substitute things like, you know, you know, flax seed and water or applesauce. You know, they'll bake - bake with applesauce and ripe bananas. And it's - that's never quite the same, but it - you know, it does - it is a good substitute.

But listen, you know, it's like you can also, instead of having a three-egg omelet, have a two-egg omelet. You know, you save 33 percent of the cost and 33 percent of the calories. So, maybe it's not a bad thing.

COLLINS: Bobby, one thing we had you - that you talked about the first time you were on this show was this idea of people are still going to restaurants, but sometimes what we're hearing is that people are seeing, you know, fewer people order an appetizer or maybe they're splitting an entree or not getting a bottle of wine or dessert that typically they get. Is that still something you're still seeing or what is the landscape looking like?

FLAY: Well, that - you know, that - that, obviously, Kaitlan, is - it's a result of, you know, of - of inflation and, of course, you know, how people are feeling about the economy on that particular night that they go out to dinner. So maybe, you know, maybe they're spending a tiny bit less.

I -- honestly, I don't really see it being that big of a deal right now. There's been some reports out that dining has sort of weakened. I mean when you compare it to the mini boom of the sort of post Covid, you know, moment where people really need to get out of the house and start living their lives again, I mean, they - they went to restaurants in droves. I mean, you know, getting a - getting a reservation at a restaurant that you wanted to - to get into became incredibly difficult. And, honestly, I still feel like it is.

I had some friends in town in Los Angeles last week. We went to three restaurants. You couldn't get near the door. Now, of course, there's going to be a little bit of weakening compared to sort of that mini boom that we had. But I have to say, I still think it's hard to get into restaurants you really want to go to.

LEMON: Wait, Bobby Flay, I have a hard time believing that Bobby Flay has an issue of getting into a restaurant, because if I need a restaurant reservation, who am I going to call. I'm going to go, Bobby Flay, can you get me into such and such.


FLAY: Yes. Listen, I - you know, Don, I mean you're calling me out. I mean, I'm lucky. I'm in the restaurant community, so (INAUDIBLE). So I can always, you know, make that phone call if I have to.

LEMON: I get it.

FLAY: But what I'm saying is, the energy in the restaurants right at this moment, from what I've witnessed is really crazy. I mean it's - it's -- people are going out and it's a good sign.

So, yes, a tiny bit of weakening. I saw like a number, it was like 15 or 17 percent off. I mean when you think about it, you know, it's, you know, it's still very, very busy no matter what. That's a good thing. LEMON: Look, the restaurants are packed. Here, wherever I go, restaurants are packed. I have a hard time sometimes getting a reservation, especially early. People are eating earlier now as we have witnessed. But, you know, it's tough.

FLAY: Yes, that's for sure. What time do you go to dinner, Don?

LEMON: A lot earlier since I'm on this show. So, probably - usually - seriously, around 6:30 or 7:00. And that was - I mean, in the old days, that was really early. Dinner was like 9:00, 10:00 here in New York. That has all changed. Everything has changed.

FLAY: Yes.

LEMON: Going out to eat, our wardrobe. This morning people are like probably freaking out because I'm wearing a, you know, a sweater that happens to have a hood on it. But that's how we're dressed. People aren't wearing ties as much anymore. They're not wearing suits as much anymore. People are casual. They're going to dinner early. The pandemic shifted a lot of things for people. I've got to go. Quick response.

FLAY: Yes. Oh, I mean, listen, I mean, I think, you know, when you go from city to city, I mean people still dress I think more in New York than they do in L.A. I mean, L.A., people go to dinner in nice restaurants in their work-out gear, I mean, and it's part of the fashion.

LEMON: Yes. Yes.

FLAY: Yes.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. Appreciate you.

FLAY: I like your look, Don. You're looking good.

LEMON: Thank you. By the way, it is not like a cotton hoodie. It is a cashmere sweater that happens to have a hood on it.

FLAY: Oh, yes, it is. That's - that's - that's apparent.


LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Good to see you, Bobby. Be well.

Up next, this morning's number, 35. My age. We'll tell you why, next.


LEMON: You laughed out loud.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I moved here for a job. I am the new night court judge.


LEMON: "Night Court" is back in session. The reboot of the 1984 sitcom debuted this week. The show's revival makes us wonder how many canceled series have been brought back. There have been a lot. Just a lot.

Our senior data reporter Harry Enten is here.

Harry, that all plays into this morning's numbers. So, what is it?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: All right, this morning's number is 35. We essentially looked at and tried to figure out how many of these revivals or sort of these spinoffs that are long after the original series ran are on the air or streaming right now. And it's at least 35, including "Night Court." I believe also today "That 90s Show," based off of "That 70s Show," is debuting. Now, much of the original cast is coming back.

But, you know, the question I have to ask is, who is asking for this type of thing, right? You know, I went and I looked at the IMDB scores of, I think we have four sort of these revivals compared to the original. And on all of them, the IMDB scores are worse for the revivals than they were for the originals. You can see we've got "CSI," we've got "Fantasy Island," we've got "Quantum Leap," we've got "Night Court." They're all worse for the revivals than the originals.

I haven't watched "Night Court" yet, but the early reviews seem kind of meh (ph).

COLLINS: But isn't that because once something was so great, once you try to redo it again people are never going to be satisfied. They're never going to feel like it was with the original?

ENTEN: Maybe so. I think nostalgia is kind of this funny thing, right, where the mind kind of plays on you a little bit and you're thinking to yourself, hey, you know, I liked it back then. Maybe I'll like it now. But it turns out that the memories are fonder than the realities are.


COLLINS: God, that was bleak. Good assignment.

ENTEN: I don't know. I don't - I don't - I don't know if that was bleak. But, you know, I'll point out one little last thing for you.


ENTEN: And that is, you know, revivals, they aired back in the 1990s as well. You know, in the 1990-1991 season, what we saw was a bunch of revivals. "The New WKRP in Cincinnati," we had "The Bradys," we had "The Carol Burnett Show," we had "Mission: Impossible." So, this isn't a new idea, it's just, they're more frequent now than they used to be.

LEMON: Don't nobody say nothing bad about Carol Burnett, OK. (INAUDIBLE).


ENTEN: I love Carol Burnett. I love the Bradys. Great theme song.

LEMON: Hell to pay. All right.


LEMON: Thank you, Harry Enten. Appreciate it.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Great number.

LEMON: Up next, a surprise announcement from CNN, and it involves Adam Sandler.

COLLINS: That's a tease if I've ever heard one.

LEMON: Don't nobody say nothing bad about Miss Carol -




WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: As I stare at this magnificent bust of Mark Twain, I'm reminder of how humbled I am to receive such an honor and how I vow to take very special care of it.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: This is a wonderful award. To see all my - my friends here and all the people I've worked with through the years, just, it reminds me of - of just how many people I carried for so long.

TINA FEY, ACTRESS: And yet I hope that, like Mark Twain, 100 years from now people will see my work and think, wow, that is actually pretty racist.

EDDIE MURPHY, ACTOR: And there was also some confusion about whether or not it was award or a prize. And I, you know - and, actually, it's an award, even though they call it a prize, it's an award. Because usually when there's a prize there's money involved.

BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: I feel like I'm in a wedding. There's like a hurricane around me, you know, and everything's happening and it's a blur. But I tried to wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: If you want to see more of that - and this is the speech that's going to come up, that's going to be great, because, mark your calendars, Sunday, March 26th is when CNN is going to exclusively broadcast the 24th version of that, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, this time honoring Adam Sandler. The Mark Twain Prize recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist Sam Clemens, who was best known by his pen name of Mark Twain.

Some of the past winners, you've got to look, I mean a lot of them are of Adam Sandler ilk, you know, "Saturday Night Live" is where a lot of them got their start. This is going to be on Sunday night, March 26th, 8:00 p.m., right here on CNN. He's just going to follow in that long list of people. And, I mean, you know his speech is going to be good.


I think we need this. I think we - it was a conversation we had earlier this week with - it was yesterday with Sigu (ph) where we talked about comedians feeling like they can't really get their stuff out there because they're worried about being judged. I think we're in a moment where we need to let comedians be comedians. And I think Tina Fey actually was making a very good point when she said, you know, with Mark Twain, someone will look back on my work and say, you know, it was really racist.


She was -- in jest. But I watch "30 Rock" now, not that it was racist, but it pushed the envelope. And I don't know if, in this environment, that you can get away with that stuff. And we should. We should allow comedians, I think, and comedy a little bit more freedom.

COLLINS: Well, it's also a - it's a reflection of how, you know, when something is made is so different than when you're seeing it in that present time.

LEMON: Right.

COLLINS: Adam Sandler, obviously, is someone who's also dealt with that, is how critics have looked at films that he made and what they look like now. He's said, you know, he doesn't read the reviews anymore and - but you know he's going to give a good speech.

LEMON: Good stuff.

COLLINS: All right, thanks for joining us this morning.

CNN "NEWSROOM" starts right now.