Return to Transcripts main page

Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Comedian and Actor Bob Saget Dies at Age 65; A Judge Overturns Djokovic's Cancelled Visa; Nineteen People, Including Nine Children Killed in One of New York City's Worst Fires. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 10, 2022 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Remembering America's dad. Tributes pour in after the sudden death of comedian Bob Saget.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: A big win for Novak Djokovic. A judge tosses the Australian government's decision to cancel his visa, but he may not be out of the woods yet.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK STATE: No, this is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed.


JARRETT: And at least 19 people are killed as a fire tears through a high rise apartment in New York City. We have the details on what sparked that horrific blaze. Good morning everyone, it is Monday, January 10th, it's 5:00 a.m. here in New York, thanks so much for getting an early start with us. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: Good morning, Laura, I'm Christine Romans, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. We have reports this morning from Australia, from the Bronx, Geneva, Atlanta, Washington and the border of Kazakhstan. But we begin this morning with friends, family and fans mourning the loss of America's dad. Comedian and actor Bob Saget has died at the age of 65. Best known as of course the family patriarch on the '90s sitcom "Full House".

Say he was found unresponsive, Sunday, in a hotel room in Orlando. Authorities say there were no signs of foul play or drug use. Saget was in Florida as part of a series of stops on his comedy tour. He performed Saturday night at Ponte Vedra Beach.


BOB SAGET, ACTOR & COMEDIAN: Hi, honey, I'm home.


Hi, girls.



JARRETT: Saget was known on stage and among friends for his raunchy humor. But he became a household name from eight seasons on full house where he starred as the widowed father of three girls, Danny Tanner.


SAGET: OK, I have everyone's sandwich just the way they want them. Turkey all white meat. Turkey and Swiss. Swiss, no turkey.


Turkey, all dark meat, extra tomatoes, turkey, extra turkey, turkey, half dark meat, half white meat and peanut butter and banana hold the turkey.




JARRETT: Saget told CNN, "The Chance" played a big role in landing him that role.


SAGET: I was doing audience warm up for "Bosom Buddies" as a comedian when I lived in L.A., trying to get my career going. And then "Full House" was an accident. I got fired from a job on "CBS" and was asked to be in "Full House" and was unveiling, and I got the show.

And it was made by the producers of "Happy Days", which was another show, it was Tom Miller and Bob Boyett. And they made "Happy Days", "Laverne & Shirley", all of these classic sitcoms. And so, I was kind of the Richie Cunningham on "Full House" and Stamos was Fonzie and Dave was Ralph or Potsie.


ROMANS: Saget's "Full House" co-star John Stamos expressing his grief, "I am broken. I am gutted. I am in complete and utter shock. I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much, Bobby." Saget went to host -- went on to host "America's Funniest Home Videos" and appear on many other shows while continuing his standup career. At the beginning of the pandemic, Saget performed on the comedy "Gives Back Telephone", here's what he told "NEW DAY" at the time.


SAGET: I made my own facemask out of my underwear.


SAGET: It's hard to find humor in these times, and it was a mistake because you don't get it out of a lot of people, that's all I have to say.


JARRETT: Saget's family says "he was everything to us. And we want you to know how much he loved his fans performing live and bringing people from all walks of life together with laughter. As we pay tribute to Bob Saget this morning, here's the final scene from "Full House".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We stuck it out and we got through it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like we always do.

SAGET: Just like we always will.


JARRETT: Oh, Christine, I cannot tell you how many afternoons in the 1990s I spent with Bob Saget, essentially my baby-sitter after school.

ROMANS: Yes, you know, a really funny guy, the wholesome show. But he had kind of a raunchy, filthy humor when he was --


ROMANS: When he was doing his stand-up. Something that people sort of loved and caught them by surprise, you know, that duality --


ROMANS: Of his comedy. But I think you're right, so many -- there was a common denominator really of the '90s of shows like "Full House" that everybody knew. It's a very different -- a very different kind of landscape today. I'll say I met him a few times in the halls, in the greenroom at CNN a couple of times.


And you know, always really nice, very nice to people. Just generous with his time. So, you know, off screen, really a great guy. I mean, his friends really adored him --

JARRETT: That's what everyone says. Just as nice off screen as he --

ROMANS: Yes --

JARRETT: Was on screen --

ROMANS: And funny -- JARRETT: Such a loss.

ROMANS: It is a loss. Too young. All right, five minutes past the hour. Breaking overnight, a stunning court victory for Novak Djokovic. A judge in Australia ordering the tennis star's release from immigration detention, reversing the state's decision to cancel his visa. All right, on the saga, we have Phil Black live in Melbourne with a breaking development. Phil, this isn't the end of the story though. Now, the Immigration Minister still has the last word and can intervene, right?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Potentially, Christine, yes, that's right. So, today in court, the judge agreed with Djokovic's lawyers in saying that yes, he was treated unfairly and unreasonably when he first arrived in Australia and was pulled aside for closer scrutiny. It was in the early hours when he was held for a period of some eight hours or so. Questioned, asked for evidence and so forth, and at one particular point had asked border officials to just hold off another couple of hours so that he could talk to his lawyers when business hours opened local time.

The judge felt that, that was a reasonable request. It wasn't given at the time. The decision to cancel his visa was made at around 6:00 a.m. local time. The judge says that was unfair, unreasonable and he believed that strongly enough to overturn that decision to cancel the visa. So, what that means now, we heard in the final moments of the court from the government's lawyer is that the immigration minister does have the option of unilaterally moving and using his power to cancel his visa.

That also comes with another hefty penalty attached. It would see Djokovic banned from the country for three years. So it is over to the Australian government and whether or not they will accept this court decision. Banning him for three years could be seen by some to be an overreaction. On the other hand, the decision by the Australian Open to give Djokovic an exemption to play was broadly unpopular here.

A country that has done it really tough throughout lockdown, paid a lot of significant price, a lot of personal sacrifice. There was a lot of anger at the idea that someone could be treated very differently to the rest of the Australian public. On top of that, you've got a federal election looming in this country. And the Australian government never likes to look soft on border security issues, particularly just around the corner from a federal election.

So, at this point, Christine, I would honestly not like to try and predict what could happen next. It is -- it is very open and certainly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Australian government moved to intervene further at this point.

ROMANS: All right, we won't predict. We will wait and report, and we know that you'll be there to tell us what happens when it does. Phil Black, thank you. Laura?

JARRETT: Now to this horrific fire in New York City from yesterday, one of the deadliest in decades. Nineteen people were killed in a Bronx high rise including 9 children. Dozens of others taken to area hospitals with life-threatening injuries. The culprit, authorities say, a faulty space heater.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just traumatizing. There's still some people that are looking for their kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going out and then the smoke just hit me down!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been calling and --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No answer, so I'm kind of worried about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just missing two of my cousins --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have no idea --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took God and angels for me to get out because actually if he didn't give me like the strength to go, I would be -- right now, I wouldn't be able to talk to you all.


ROMANS: Just awful. New York's Fire Commissioner says victims were found in stair wells on every floor of the 19 story building. The tragedy less than a week after a dozen people including eight children were killed in a major fire in Philadelphia. CNN's Polo Sandoval has more from the Bronx.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, you have dozens of families waking up this morning wondering what will come next. And then, of course, you have the family of at least, of at least 19 people who did not survive that are mourning the loss of their loved ones. And sadly, we learned yesterday that almost half of them are children. The Fire Commissioner telling me yesterday shortly after that incident broke out, saying that this will likely be one of the worst fires in New York City's history.

Investigators very quick to find physical evidence according to the Fire Commissioner that indicates that it was a space heater that started this fire in a duplex in that 19 story building that you see behind me. And it wasn't necessarily the flames, but it was the smoke that started basically billowing through the building that led to so much destruction and, of course, to so much death.

Mayor Eric Adams in New York City, this is really his first mass casualty incident at the site yesterday, addressing the actions, not just of the firefighters, but other first responders that rushed to the scene not long after those flames broke out yesterday morning.



ADAMS: Thank you to the men and women who went in this building. Some of these firefighters, their oxygen --


Their oxygen tanks were empty, and they still pushed through the smoke. You can't do this if you don't feel attached to the city and this community. And I really want to thank them for putting their lives on the line to save lives.


SANDOVAL: And today, community continues to come together. In fact, last night, we witnessed as many members of the community including some of the local nonprofits were coming out to a neighboring school that was being used as a temporary shelter to make sure that those families actually have a warm -- now, they want a place -- but a warm meal as they get through the coming days and perhaps even weeks. Christine, Laura, back to you.

JARRETT: Polo, thank you for that. And you know, first responders will tell you, Christine, the big thing is if a fire like that happens, try if you can remember to close the door behind you. That is partly how this fire was able to spread. People rushed out, you know, in the melee and it just billowed throughout --


JARRETT: The building --

ROMANS: Right --

JARRETT: Because the door was open. So, if you can remember, close those doors. All right, still ahead, no school in Chicago for a fourth day. Why the mayor says teachers abandoned over 300,000 students and their families That's next.



JARRETT: This morning, day four of no school for 340,000 children in Chicago, the nation's third largest district. The standoff between the teachers union and Mayor Lightfoot drags on over those COVID safety protocols, Christine.

ROMANS: Now, still some students in other places are going back to classrooms in person today. Students in five metro Atlanta districts returned to school after a post-holiday week of virtual learning. CNN's Nadia Romero has more from Atlanta for us.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine and Laura, here in the state of Georgia, the governor says even if a teacher has been infected with COVID-19, tested positive, they can still go back into the classroom and teach as long as they're asymptomatic and they wear a mask. But he's leaving those guidelines really up to each school district to decide how they best see fit to handle their students and teachers.

So, the Atlanta public schools, they're going back to school on Monday after a week of remote learning. And it means mandatory testing for all teachers at least twice a week. And that testing element is still a point of contention in Chicago and in New York City where the teachers unions say they want more testing, they want more time for their kids to get tested and to get vaccinated before they feel safe coming back into the school classroom. But the mayors of Chicago and New York City say they will only support in-person learning. And here's why?


ADAMS: Science dictates one thing. The safest place for children is in a school building. And what we want to do is not get in the way of preventing children from coming into that building.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: But fundamentally, what we cannot do is abandon the science. We know that the safest place for kids to be is in-person learning in school. And we've spent millions -- hundreds of millions of dollars to make our schools safe. They are safe. We've got the data to demonstrate that. We've got to get the teacher's union to get real and get serious about getting back into in-person learning.


ROMERO: So, what makes this such a difficult topic for mayors and for teachers and parents is the alarming rate of pediatric hospitalizations due to COVID-19, especially when you look at a particular age group. Those 5 and under who are not eligible to get the vaccine. We're seeing about a 48 percent increase in the rate of hospitalizations for that age group when you look at the week of December 4th compared to the week of January 1st. Christine, Laura?

JARRETT: Nadia, thank you for that reporting. And one way to keep kids in class safely, of course, is better surveillance testing. The Los Angeles Unified School District has caught about 50,000 COVID cases through testing as students and staffers are set to return to class in person there tomorrow. The Board of Education President says the positivity rate is about 14 percent among employees and about 16 percent among students. Those numbers very similar to New York City.

ROMANS: And get this, the district says ghost busters level sanitation practices will continue, and 4,000 certified staffers are ready to fill in for workers out sick. And students at eight high schools in Greensboro, North Carolina, they're going to have to take city buses to school. The school buses there are suspended because of a severe driver shortage because of COVID. All right, not time to spare, wait until you see what happens just seconds after this pilot is pulled out of his plane by the LAPD.



ROMANS: To Kazakhstan now where the president there is calling the violent protests and unrest in his country in recent days an attempted coup. He denies security forces were responsible for any civilian deaths even after he gave the order, Friday, for law enforcement to quote, "open fire to kill without warning." A shoot to kill order from a president. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is on the ground near Kazakhstan border with Kyrgyzstan.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: While the situation in Kazakhstan appears to be somewhat calming down, the crackdown by the security forces certainly is continuing. The Kazakhstan authorities are now saying that almost 8,000 people have been detained in relation to those protests that of course erupted in that country last week. The Kazakhstan authorities are also saying that more than 160 people were killed, more than a 100 of those in Almaty alone.

Now, the government is saying that the situation is becoming more and more under control, it's stabilizing. Also what we're seeing is that apparently internet connectivity seems to be improving, people going back online in that country. The country's President Tokayev, he has blamed at least to a certain extent outside forces for being behind that uprising that took place there last week. Of course, that was one of the reasons why he called for international assistance first and foremost, from a Russia-led coalition.

Tokayev also thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for providing Russian paratroopers and other forces very quickly to that country to help stabilize the situation. And also Vladimir Putin today is taking part in a meeting of that collective security organization where of course the situation in Kazakhstan is also going to be one of the main topics. Fred Pleitgen, CNN at the Kyrgyz-Kazak border.



JARRETT: Fred, thank you for that. In Brazil, at least, ten people have died, and I want to warn you that the video you're about to see is very disturbing. A huge slab of rock fell off a cliff on to several tourists floating in boats on that lake there below. Just incredible. Another 32 people were injured, officials say heavy rains in that area loosened that rock.

All right, tonight join Fareed Zakaria as he investigates "THE FIGHT TO SAVE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY" tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.