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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace

Interview With Actor And Filmmaker, George Clooney; Interview With Celebrity Chef, Guy Fieri. Interview With Former NBC Sports Chairman, Dick Ebersol. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 16, 2022 - 19:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: "Awesome. Any who, turns out that in order to play in next week's game, we need goalposts on our field. Could y'all help us out?" At last check they had already raised $30,000. That is my favorite story of the day.

Thank you so much for joining me this evening. I'm Pamela Brown. See you again next weekend. "WHO IS TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE?" is up next. He's talking to George Clooney, the mayor of flavor down, and TV sports legend Dick Ebersol.


My next guests tonight have entertained you for years. One of the world's biggest movie stars, one of TV's most popular celebrity chefs, and the man behind some of the biggest television sports events in history.

Up first, George Clooney as you've never seen him. A candid conversation about his new movie, how his wife and kids have changed his life and his hits and misses on the screen.


WALLACE: Which lasts longer for you, the successes or the failures?



WALLACE: Then Guy Fieri opens up about the secret to his success and answers critics who say he serves a heart attack on a plate.


GUY FIERI, CELEBRITY CHEF: I'm your chef. I'm not your doctor. OK?


FIERI: Got to have responsibility in what you eat.


WALLACE: And later, the legendary Dick Ebersol who ran NBC Sports for years. He gets real about the future of sports on TV.


WALLACE: Has America's love affair with the Olympics disappeared?

I worked a lot on this question, Alex. Shania, don't do that. Are you always like this? Are you saying parents are wrong?


WALLACE: Will you come back?

HENRY WINKLER, ACTOR: Yes, of course I will.



WALLACE: Tonight, we're doing something a little different. Over the next 30 minutes an extended conversation with one of the biggest names in Hollywood, George Clooney. The award-winning actor, director and producer opens up about his fame, his family, and his flops. But we start with his new film co-starring one of his best friends.


WALLACE: Let's talk about your new movie, "Ticket to Paradise," in which you're aware that you made this new movie.

CLOONEY: I am. And I was saddled with Julia Roberts.


CLOONEY: Which is a lot of work as you might imagine.

WALLACE: Well, you had carried her through the movie.

CLOONEY: I, in general, do that with her, as you can tell.


CLOONEY: You know, I'm known for my romantic comedies as you know so I --

WALLACE: Well, we're going to talk about that in a minute. So you and Julia play a divorced couple who hate each other but you reunite in order to try to stop your daughter from getting married, a marriage who you disapprove of. Here you are.



CLOONEY: You got to be kidding me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You speak English. ROBERTS: Are you're still doing the Italian tourist bit? Excuse me,

ma'am, I need to sit somewhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, it's a full flight.

ROBERTS: We used to be married.

CLOONEY: The worst 19 years of my life.

ROBERTS: We were only married for five.

CLOONEY: I'm counting the recovery.


WALLACE: So as I was watching this movie.


WALLACE: I was thinking about star power and what it is that makes a movie star. Why do you think it is? Seriously. Why do you think it is that it makes all the rest of us feel better to watch someone like you?

CLOONEY: I don't know if that's true. But I --

WALLACE: But like you or Julia, or I know Spencer Tracy.

CLOONEY: Well, Spencer Tracy is a great example.

WALLACE: Right. One of your --

CLOONEY: Absolute hero of mine. But, you know, sort of -- what was that senator who they were doing something about porn and he says I, you know, I don't know how to describe it but I know it when I see it.

WALLACE: No. It was actually -- it was a Supreme Court justice, Potter Stewart.

CLOONEY: So it's kind of that with movie stars. I don't know why some of them are movie stars. You know, there's lots of talented actors. I don't know why some of them, if you look at Spencer Tracy, you wouldn't think he's not, you know, a --

WALLACE: He's not the sexiest man alive.

CLOONEY: Cary Grant. He's not two-time sexiest man. And he's a movie star. You can't take your eyes off him. So I don't know what it is. There is something electric about that. When I work with Julia, you can see it on her, you know, and it's very alive in the room because she's sort of invested in things and she's such a great -- she's a great friend and I think a great person to be on the set with, too. You know?

I don't know how to describe it, though. I know what it is. I look -- you can look at some actors over the years who weren't necessarily even the best actors of their generation but they were stars, you know?

WALLACE: And do you think it's just something in their personality, something in their aura that you just can't take your eyes off?

CLOONEY: I think sometimes it starts with, you know, whatever job -- a really good job that someone can identify with.


For me, just -- you know, I worked for years and years and years and then I got "E.R." and suddenly we were on a Thursday night and a really great time slot and it was a really great show, and everything changed for me. My career changed. Work changed. Perceptions of me changed. That wasn't like I was some genius along the way. I finally was working in the right vehicle. So maybe sometimes it's about the vehicle. You know, Julia was "Pretty Woman" I think.

But I can't explain it and I don't quite know how it works. I know a lot of movie stars and, you know, you look at them going, you know, when they walk in the room there, you can't take your eye off them.

WALLACE: You've made some darker movies in recent years including one literally about the end of the world, and I know a lot of people said to you, why don't you just be Cary Grant and make romantic comedies? Why is it, after years of resistance, you have decided in this movie to be Cary Grant and make a rom-com?

CLOONEY: Well, you know, I haven't done one in a long time. I think it was in 1996 within one fine day when I did this sort of a straight up and I found it. Probably not my greatest vehicles along the way. I have to say, I got sent the script and, you know, we've worked on -- there's been a lot of dark things going on in the world, you know, and I always feel that films try to reflect that often. They're usually late because it takes a couple of years to make a film.

It felt like we all needed a break. I needed a break. I needed to -- I needed it to be a little carefree. I needed something. You know, if you look back at during the depression, for instance, romantic comedies really flourished. I think people needed a break. I certainly know that Julia and I were both when we read it we thought I need a breather here and this was the perfect thing for us.

WALLACE: As I say, in the movie you and Julia play a couple that really do not like each other and at one point you explain why the marriage fell apart and you say at the beginning it was unreal.


WALLACE: And then it got real.


WALLACE: You've now been married just recently. Eight years.


WALLACE: To your lovely wife Amal.


WALLACE: She's not here. You looked around.

CLOONEY: Making sure she's not here.

WALLACE: This is your life.

CLOONEY: Yes -- no, she comes out from behind. Hi.

WALLACE: So is that what's happened with you and Amal and is it real yet?

CLOONEY: No. I don't -- with any luck, it will never be real. I feel incredibly lucky every day. You know, I feel like, you know, I have in my wife someone who is my best friend and someone who I am, you know, terribly in love with and it's, you know, we -- probably because it happened for me later in life, I don't take any of that for granted, any moment of any day and we -- I think we both really made, you know, a commitment to make sure that we understand how lucky we are.

You know, I go through this a lot. And you and I have had conversations about this before. And I always talk about, you know, careers. I cut tobacco for a living. You know, I've done -- sold ladies shoes and insurance door to door, and I understand what it's like to not have insurance and to -- and to, you know, live paycheck to paycheck or no check to no check. I understand how lucky I am in this, in my career and things, and I also, and in doing that, I also have learned how lucky I am in love and it took me awhile but Amal walked in and changed everything.

WALLACE: You said at some point suddenly someone else's life becomes more important to you than your own. Is that it?

CLOONEY: Sure. Now I got two kids so it's even worse as you know. You got kids. It's -- yes.

WALLACE: You got all these people whose lives are more important.

CLOONEY: Listen, my wife showed up and she screwed up my whole life. Everything has gone wrong. Yes -- no, look, I think that it's a really exciting thing in life to care more about, particularly if you're an actor, which basically the focus is usually on you. It really an exciting thing in life to be able to say and feel, really earnestly feel that their lives, my wife's life, my kids' life, is infinitely more important than mine, and what they're doing in their lives.

And I know parents all -- I'm not -- this is not a unique thing. I understand that. But I -- it's also important to always acknowledge it.


WALLACE: When we come back, George reflects on his breakout role on "E.R." and the opportunity he did not take, which might have changed everything.


WALLACE: And as someone who I know is so smart and so strategic about your career, why?




WALLACE: George Clooney has plenty of awards and accolades including two Oscars and four Golden Globes. But he says it's the flops that helped shape the superstar we know today. It started with a breakout role that might not have happened at all.


WALLACE: In 1994, you're aged 33, you get your part as Doug Ross, Dr. Doug Ross, in the show "E.R." and we're going to show two scenes, first of all you in the E.R. saving somebody's life and then you saving a kid who's been trapped in a flooded tunnel.


WALLACE: Here you are.


CLOONEY: OK. Give me 360.


CLOONEY: And clear. OK. He's stable. Let's go. You hold on, damn it. You hold on.


You hold on. You hold on.


WALLACE: So I like that, you emerging from the water as the savior of this kid.


WALLACE: That's --

CLOONEY: That's -- I asked for that in my contract.

WALLACE: Did you say, I want to come out a savior?

CLOONEY: We were shooting that in Chicago, and you know Chicago and how the weather is in October and we got there, and it was daytime and we were shooting during the day. It was 70 degrees. I was like, this was going to be a cake walk tonight when we're shooting out in the water. And it started snowing by the time we got there that night and it was just -- we were all wearing wet suits and that poor kid was suffering like crazy. You know?

WALLACE: Beyond the stories in real life, if you could say something to that 33-year-old George Clooney, what would you say to him?

CLOONEY: I would say -- well, you know, I don't know. I don't know that I'm any wiser than I was, you know, 25 years ago. I'm not quite sure I am. I wouldn't -- I would say to make sure that you enjoy it. I did quite honestly. So, you know, I worked hard through that period of time. I worked seven days a week for five years because I was doing films while I was doing the show and I needed to because that's how I ended up having success in other parts of the industry. So, you know, now I can look back and say maybe slow down or enjoy it but at the time, it was really fun.

WALLACE: At that moment -- I did a little research. At age 33 you had been offered your own show and you decided to turn that down to do -- to work with Steven Spielberg and to be part of an ensemble.


WALLACE: I mean, there were a lot of other big stars on that show, and as someone who I know is so smart and so strategic about your career, why?

CLOONEY: Well, the first thing is I'd been -- I'd done seven television series at this point and I've been kind of the second banana on most of them and none of them were very good, quite honestly. And I wasn't very good in them. I'm not here to crap all over the shows. I wasn't particularly good in them. I needed to work, and you know, there is a funny thing actors do, which is, when you're a young actor particularly before -- television has changed a little bit but when you're a young actor, when I was growing up, we're all movie actors. I'm a movie actor. I just happen to be doing television.

WALLACE: But this is a weigh station to --

CLOONEY: Yes. Even though I'd never done a film.


CLOONEY: I'm a movie actor, I'm just doing TV. And so you just kind of took jobs, you know, and finally I get to a place where I said, well, I'm a TV actor and so I better try to do better television and this was for a lot less pay but it was working with Spielberg and (INAUDIBLE), Spielberg was just coming off "Schindler's List" and "Jurassic Park" and it was a really good script. My part was the smallest part of all of it. But I've over my career fared very well in ensembles, quite honestly, and I like them. I think they work really well. And so this was -- I just had dinner with Tony Edwards and Julian Margolis and you know, and I'm very --

WALLACE: Two stars in the show with you. CLOONEY: I'm still very close to all of them. It was a really -- it

was a great sort of magical moment. We were doing 40 million people a night on Thursday night. So that's a big number.

WALLACE: Yes. 40 -- that's like Super Bowl number now. Then, at the depth of the great recession, you have another movie where you play a guy whose job it is to go around the country laying people off in "Up in the Air."



ANNA KENDRICK, ACTRESS: We prepare the newly unemployed for the emotional and physical hurdles of job hunting while minimizing legal blowback.

CLOONEY: That's what we're selling, it's not what we're doing.

KENDRICK: OK. What are we doing?

CLOONEY: We are here to make limbo tolerable, to ferry wounded souls across the river of dread and to the point where hope is dimly visible. And then stop the boat, shove them in the water and make them swim.


WALLACE: So I want to ask you a technique question.


WALLACE: How do you, in such a minimal way, so subtly communicate frankly so much. I mean, humor, cynicism, self-awareness and you're not doing much but it's all there.

CLOONEY: I think sometimes actors get too much credit for things, and I can prove it to you. Because, for instance, it's script and director. That's all it is. It really is. I have been -- you know, I was kind of hailed as the worst Batman in the history of time. Fair enough, I was. The next film I did was "Out of Sight" which is probably the best reviewed film I've ever done and I'm good in it because the film is good and the script was good and the director was great.

WALLACE: You've had -- these are questions you ask and you think, Jesus, how am I going to say this? You've had a few clunkers in recent years.

CLOONEY: You think?

WALLACE: Well, OK. And you once said about Hollywood at some point they're going to take away the toys. I know how this ends. I know how this works. Have you in the course of your career ever been worried maybe after one of those clunkers, they're going to stop letting me play with the toys? [19:20:03]

CLOONEY: Well, not yet. I will say this, I've had moments in my life. I did a TV show that I quit when I was a younger actor. I quit for the right reasons. The guy was a jerk, the producer, and was yelling at babies. And I quit. And I sort of thought my career was over then. And someone who I had been nice to years earlier called me up and said I got a job for you. And sort of living wealth is kind of the best revenge.

There have been plenty of times where you make mistakes. Sometimes it's your own mistake, sometimes it's you'll get in a film that you think is going to be great and it doesn't work. Sometimes, you know, that's your own fault and sometimes it's other people's fault. I've -- you know, I've been lucky enough to still be allowed to do what I like to do.

WALLACE: Is that one of the reasons, though, that you went into directing early on because if the acting thing doesn't work out I've got another skill set here?

CLOONEY: I started by producing and writing and then directing because I thought I don't want to worry about what some casting director thinks about how I'm aging, you know, and like, well, he looks pretty old. Don't put him in this thing. I knew that would come. So I didn't want to be in the industry that I love doing something different. But also, I'm more curious in that. You know, when you're acting in a film, you're basically one of the paints and when you're directing the film, you're the painter and you get to pick and choose and it's infinitely more exciting.

And I've succeeded wildly and I failed terribly at that, as well. I've never learned anything from succeeding. Ever. I've learned a lot from failing and so I don't mind all of that. I like getting in and saying, well, let's muck it up a little bit.

WALLACE: Which lasts longer for you, the successes or the failures?

CLOONEY: The failures.


WALLACE: Coming up, George Clooney gives a surprising answer to a question about the 2024 presidential race. And the notorious prankster reveals how his 5-year-old son has learned from the master.


CLOONEY: I couldn't celebrate enough. I would have done an end zone, you know, dance. I'm so happy.


WALLACE: And later, celebrity chef Guy Fieri on how good a cook he is and the all-American secret to his success.



WALLACE: Welcome back to WHO'S TALKING.

George Clooney isn't known just for his career in films. He's also a leader in fighting for causes he and his wife Amal believe in. And that's where our conversation continues.


CLOONEY: I try to get behind things that I think I can have at least I can help bring attention to it. I can't change things. You know, I'm not a -- we're not a government, my wife and I. We try to get involved in things that we think we can bring -- you know, it's rolling that ball uphill towards that ark of justice, you know, and we fail. I fail most often. We failed a lot in Darfur. Failed a lot quite honestly but it's worth the journey and worth, you know, trying to -- you look at the world and you go look, we're all going to have -- we're all in this together now and we have to figure out ways to stand up for justice, which has to be waged.

My wife and I talk about it all the time. It doesn't just happen. It has to be treated like war. You go to war, you arm yourself, you collect allies, you build an army. You have to do that with justice and peace, as well. And so I'm a big believer in, you know, getting in and getting your, you know, getting up to your knees and trying to figure out where you can fit in and trying to help.

WALLACE: You say that your dad had one rule for you, which was take on the people who are more powerful than you and comfort, support, defend the people who are less powerful than you.


WALLACE: Is that where your sense of outrage comes from?

CLOONEY: Sure. My -- look, you know, we're about the same age. I grew up in the '60s.

WALLACE: No, we're not.

CLOONEY: We're not?

WALLACE: No, we're not.

CLOONEY: OK. Good. I feel --

WALLACE: I'm considerably older than you, which is why we ran through these movies of you, not TV shows of me.

CLOONEY: Well -- good. But, I mean, growing up in a certain period of time, the '60s and '70 particularly, there was the women's rights movement, the civil rights movement, there were so many things going on, anti-Vietnam movement. There were so many things going on that you had to be involved. My parents were deeply involved and so, as I was growing up, I was taught, you know, if you're not in it, then you're not participating.

WALLACE: How worried are you about our democracy?

CLOONEY: I'm worried about it. I'm worried about the coarsening of America. I'm worried about how we celebrate unkindness now. You know, I worry about things. I'll tell you, I look at -- so we're sending, you know, the new joke, the new cruelty is let's send migrants, people who are seeking asylum legally here.

Let's send them without any warning, you know, because it's fun to own the liberals. We'll send them to, you know, to Martha's Vineyard. That will teach, you know, the Obama people and we'll send them to the vice president's house with no warning, no help, no nothing. So I look at where we are in this coarsening of our discourse and I find it to be worrying. You know?

WALLACE: How do you feel about the likely prospect of a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024?

CLOONEY: Well, look, it's all scary, right? Just because there is a world where we could go back to where we were. I don't think it's as likely as people think.


But I was wrong about the first election, you know. I didn't think people would. I didn't think people would vote for someone who was so deeply flawed. You know, I mean, I know Donald Trump. You know, I read that's the thing is people --

You know, I have his phone number in my phone book. He was the guy that came to the bars and asked me about which cocktail waitress was single, you know, that's who he was.

WALLACE: This is back in the 90s.

CLOONEY: Not that long, no, back in the 2000s, quite honestly. And, and so there's this part of me that just goes, "Well, that guy shouldn't be President," but I was wrong. And he was and our democracy, I believe paid a price certainly around the world.

And I worry about the possibility. I don't think it's as good as some people are painting, but I do worry about it. I think we're in a time where we need to-- we need some interesting candidates all around the board, you know.

WALLACE: The Democratic side as well.

CLOONEY: Sure. Yes. We need we need interesting candidates out there.

WALLACE: You are now 61 years old.


WALLACE: I read somewhere that you have talked about how many summers you have left? What do you want to do with the summers that you have left?

CLOONEY: That's interesting. Well, my wife and I've had this conversation about you know, we call it our Halcyon years. I said, listen, I'm 61 I can still play a little basketball, I can still hang, you know, play sports and run around.

I said, but in 20 to 25 years, I'll be eighty, eighty-five years old and that's a real number, you know, I maybe be with a walker. I said, so we have to make sure that while I'm young -- not her, that we're able to spend time doing other things besides just work, just trying to simplify it to spend time with our kids, to spend time with our family.

WALLACE: You talk about your kids, Ella and Alexander, five years old.


WALLACE: You are a notorious prankster. And I read somewhere --

CLOONEY: What's he talking about?

WALLACE: I read somewhere that he has learned from the master.


WALLACE: So here is the question, what's the best prank he has pulled? Either on you or his sister or his mom or somebody?

CLOONEY: The really good one was the -- I do a lot of like peanut butter and Nutella jokes, which just worked great.

WALLACE: Is it true that you used to put Nutella in a diaper and then you'd sit there and eat it?

CLOONEY: Yes. Yes. I wouldn't eat it. He would eat it, which is fantastic. I mean, that was really good play. Now he has one where --

WALLACE: I don't think Amal -- I know Amal. I wouldn't think she would have found that enormously funny.

CLOONEY: She doesn't find it nearly as funny as I do.

WALLACE: Or Alexander.

CLOONEY: So Alexander walked in the other day, and he's put crunchy peanut butter on the side of his tennis shoes. And he comes he goes, "Papa." And then he goes, "You smell poopoo?" I'm like, "No." We have a giant dog outside. And he looks down his shoe and he's got crunchy peanut on the side of his shoes. Uh-oh. And he reaches down and he goes like this, "Oh, poopoo."

Literally, I wanted to -- I couldn't celebrate enough. I would have done a endzone dance. I was so happy.

WALLACE: Well, you may be 61, but you act more like 14.

CLOONEY: Well, isn't that the way? Isn't that the way you're supposed to do, it?

WALLACE: Yes, it is. George, thank you.


WALLACE: Still to come, the chef with the spiky bleached blonde hair, Guy Fieri on his food empire that has spread far beyond the kitchen.

And I sit down with Dick Ebersol, the man who changed the way we watch sports on TV.



WALLACE: Guy Fieri is more than just the man you see on the Food Network. The celebrity chef is a wildly successful businessman whose empire keeps growing.

Tonight, he reveals the secret behind that success, but we start with him clarifying one key detail, his name.


WALLACE: Guy Fieri, welcome.


WALLACE: Now, I want to start right there because I have been practicing your name for days to prepare for this interview. Was I close?

FIERI: You got guy perfect. You nailed Guy because -- no, you got Fieri right. Fieri.

WALLACE: It is Fieri.

FIERI: Yes, you got it.

WALLACE: So how does that -- where does the name come from?

FIERI: So in Italian E, R, and I is Eri -- Fieri, but you don't have to say it with all the Italian flair. Everybody wants to start throwing their hands in the air. I just say, there's a guy named Eri, he has got to pay a fee. There's a fee, Eri. Easy-peasy.

WALLACE: I got it. Okay.

FIERI: That's perfect. So, it's a good kickoff.

WALLACE: So all right. So you were born Guy Ferry.

FIERI: Right.

WALLACE: And you changed your name.

FIERI: The family has changed in Ellis Island. So when you see F-I-E- R-I, you would see Fieri as most people do.


FIERI: And the easiest way to make that sound more American and easier to spell is F-I-E-R-Y?

WALLACE: And when did you change it back?

FIERI: Mid -- beginning in my 20s, I just thought I'm so proud to be Italian-American and my grandfather. I mean, I think about all the -- you know, the way I live my life and who I am and what was important to me and I thought it was something I wanted to do and it's great.

WALLACE: Let's talk about your latest show on the Food Network and Discovery+.

FIERI: Right.

WALLACE: "Guy's Ultimate Game Night." We're going to show a clip, but before we do, how would you describe it?

FIERI: Everybody loves food. Not everybody like the same politics. Not everybody really likes the same music, same sports, same -- but everybody loves food. So if you take the love of food, and you take -- everybody I think has a little bit of competition in them, even if they say they don't, you start playing just a family game of cards and people started arguing.

WALLACE: We've had some nights that were destroyed by...

FIERI: Exactly.

WALLACE: ... games at the end of the evening.

FIERI: It was all supposed to be fun and games, no pun intended. So, I said why not take the things we love about game shows and about home games and associate them all with food.

WALLACE: Okay, with that build up. Let's take a look. Here it is.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Burgers and chicken and wings and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like those things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ribs and then like then you would --


FIERI: Yes, but another word for it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would be things that you what? What would they be? They would be like -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delicious barbecue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, the thing you cook it on.




WALLACE: Would it be fair to say, Guy --

FIERI: They are so mad at me when that happens.

WALLACE: Like when the --

FIERI: When they explode -- it is the exploiting potato. We call it hot potato. That's the name of the game.

WALLACE: Okay. Would it be fair to say that drinks were served during the course of producing that show?

FIERI: Can you tell by looking at me?

WALLACE: I would --

FIERI: Oh, no. Them? No, not me. Yes. Them.

WALLACE: Yes, them.

FIERI: There were a couple of beverages. I feel that when you're talking about food and you're having your party inside of the Flavortown Lounge, you should probably make sure that there's some really good Santo Tequila being poured. And yes, there were some beverages.

WALLACE: I was going to say, do you realize how much better my career and political talk shows would have been if beverages -- even on a Sunday morning -- if beverages had been served?

FIERI: Exactly.

WALLACE: Exactly. How many series do you have on the Food Network and Discovery+, now?

FIERI: I have five shows, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," which is kind of the -- I think we'll be doing that one forever. I'll be doing that in a walker. "Guy's Grocery Games," which we shoot up in the Wine Country, Northern California. "Guy's Ranch Kitchen," that we shoot at my ranch that feature chefs from all over the country.

We have "Tournament Champions," which is probably the most out of control, the most difficult culinary competition I think there's ever been. And now we have -- now, we have this.

WALLACE: Why do you think people have accepted and bought in, like it, want to see more?

FIERI: I think because when I run into somebody on the street, I look like one of their buddies or cousins or guys they went to college with or some dude, they knew. I'm nobody -- I mean, what do you see is what you get? I really am -- I put on a collared shirt for you. I was in a t-shirt when I got here.


FIERI: You know, so I think that it is maybe that appeal. I drive a Chevy. I'm into rock and roll. I'm in to -- what I say is what I mean. I mean, it's just -- it's kind of, I have an All-American attitude. I'm a huge patriot.

WALLACE: You don't need any help as a performer on TV, you're just a natural. How would you rate yourself as a chef?

FIERI: I'd put myself at a seven-and-a-half, eight. You know, I can cook anything. I'm not as refined. I didn't go to culinary school. But I've been in the restaurant business my whole life. You know, I've cooked I've been working in restaurants since I was a kid. I started washing dishes when I was 12. But I'm exactly where I want to be as a chef.

WALLACE: Let's take a look at some of your greatest hits over the years.

Here you are.


FIERI: I think you could add the wet jerky to an old army boot, it would taste good.

What a lot of people have not known is that this is my real hair. This is how I normally keep it. I just have to keep tons of wax in it to keep it down.

I really do have to ask you? Any resemblance?

That gravy flows to the rivers of Flavortown.

You've got beautiful green and you've got a mellow red. You see the crispy onions and you get the sweet basil. Can you feel it?

I'm having such a hard time with the English language every day.

I wish we could just do the clicks. And some coffee.


FIERI: Where did you -- who picked all of these out?

WALLACE: I -- you know, we have a big staff.

FIERI: Yes, you do. WALLACE: Well, you know you've got such --

FIERI: They've got a lot of time on their hands.

WALLACE: We've got one little show here we are trying to keep, so you love these people, don't you?

FIERI: Oh yes.

WALLACE: And you love what they do, these people in the diners, drive- ins and dives around the country.

FIERI: We call it Triple D because I couldn't get the --

WALLACE: Okay, now, I have a little trouble with that.

FIERI: For the first few years, I'd finished my rap at the end of the show and I go, "Thanks for tuning in -- Triple D." So we call it -- that's how Triple D actually started.

I mean, I love these people. You know what it is? This is the fabric to the community in my perspective. I mean there are all different people, all different facets to a community, but from my perspective, which I can see and read and feel so well, so much is restaurants are it.

Restaurants give jobs. Restaurants support programs. Restaurants are centers for happiness and support. We are really able to get their name and their message out around the world.

WALLACE: Anybody who is as successful as you are is going to get some critics and one of the criticisms is about the food that you feature on your show.

FIERI: Right.

WALLACE: And it's not totally unwarranted. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got the pound of meat, three pieces of cheese. House southern slaw, mustard, chopped onions, and then the chili.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sauce and lasagna.

FIERI: Have you seen lasagna that big?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Half the cheese on this layer.

FIERI: How much of the sausage is going in there?


FIERI: That's a lot of sausage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Provolone. Noodles.


FIERI: Whoa. That is a monster. Well, the parsley made it healthier.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Eat your vegetables.


WALLACE: Now, I need to tell folks that while that video was rolling, Guy was saying, "That's all good for you."

FIERI: I said the slaw, the slaw is good for you.

WALLACE: Oh, the slaw is good for me. Okay, so now the rest of it. I mean, the lasagna with all the sausage, that was a heart attack on a plate.

FIERI: If you ate all of it. If he ate all of it, it was. Let me say this to your first. One, I'm your chef. I'm not your doctor. Okay?


FIERI: Got to have responsibility in what you eat, and you've got to eat in moderation.

Two, you would be so surprised, I pick every single item that's on the show. Okay, so when we get a restaurant, we will look at about 15 restaurants in an area before we go there. I will evaluate. My team does the research. I get all the research papers, I look through all of them break down how the items are made, what the items are, and try to curate the season to have a variety of things on the show.

Now, I know that people love to watch "Big Lasagna," but I challenge you to go watch Triple D and see how many vegetarian restaurants we put on there.

WALLACE: How many restaurants do you have around the world on land, and on the sea?

FIERI: I think it's about 85.

WALLACE: How big a line of food products do you have?

FIERI: Let's see here. We've got a few different -- about four different barbecue sauces, tomato sauces, salsas. We've dabbled inside and out of pizzas. The big hitter right now, we have a little winery called, Hunt & Ryde. My sons are Hunter and Ryder, so we named that after them, Hunt & Ryde Wide. which we're getting some really great traction around the country with in table white and table red.

And then the big hit is my partnership with Sammy Hagar, Sammy Hagar the Red Rocker, the legend --

WALLACE: Right, Van Halen. FIERI: In my opinion, started this celebrity booze world back with

Cabo Wabo and we have partnered together to make Santo Tequila and it has been probably one of the greatest things I've ever had a chance to do.

WALLACE: There are other stuff you do besides the business empire, besides the food. Over the years, you have spent a lot of time going to military bases, not only in this country, and around the world. Why and what do you do with the troops when you're there?

FIERI: So my dad, my grandfather, so many family members have been in the military. My dad was on submarines, diesel submarines during Vietnam. I'm a big -- like I said earlier, I'm a huge patriot. I mean, I love what our country -- I love who we are, what we founded.

I don't like that we're at odds with each other right now. It's kind of a difficult thing. But I do really want to thank the people and their families that made these incredible efforts to keep our country free, and to live by the goals that we set, that were set for us a long time ago.

So I know that when I go to a military base, they're taken care of. They have people that are feeding them. They have people that are, you know, looking after them, but there is something about going in and saying "thank you." And I think it's like giving a hug through a warm meal.


WALLACE: Coming up, legendary television executive Dick Ebersol's hot take on how much sports broadcasters are getting paid these days.


WALLACE: If you were in charge of NBC Sports or any sports division today, would you be paying people that kind of money?



WALLACE: Here is the brains behind some of the biggest moments in sports television history. Former NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, created "Sunday Night football" and made NBC the network of the Olympics.

But I wanted his honest take on the state of TV and sports today.


WALLACE: The 2022 Beijing Olympics had the smallest audience since NBC got into the Olympics business decades ago.


WALLACE: And if you think that's an anomaly, the year before, the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics had the lowest rating until Beijing.


WALLACE: Has America's love affair with the Olympics disappeared?

EBERSOL: I think we'll have to wait and see what happens in these next couple of games, because they're in places that the world I think really has a hunger to see. Summer Olympics in Paris, Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

WALLACE: What do you think is the future of sports on TV? Is it all going to end up on streaming? Are we going to end up having to pay Apple or Amazon to watch the Super Bowl?

EBERSOL: I don't think that -- I don't think either the NFL or the NBA want to be in the position of having to walk into Washington or someplace and justify having pulled all this stuff back off of free TV. That's just a personal opinion. I don't have anything to back it up, but it is important to these legs to have a big following and you get a big following by putting something there on free TV.

WALLACE: And another thing I want to ask you about are these salaries that sportscasters are getting these days. Take a look at these numbers.

Tony Romo $180 million Aikman $90 million; Joe Buck $75 million; and when he stops playing, Tom Brady $375 million.

Now, you write in your book about sportscasters, starting -- great sports guys -- starting with Jim McKay, you clearly admire them. But if you were in charge of NBC Sports or any sports division today, would you be paying people that kind of money?


EBERSOL: Well, you could go back and read all of the various stories about guys getting paid gargantuan salaries or women getting paid gargantuan salaries by NBC during my years, you won't find them there because we didn't pay those kinds of things.

WALLACE: Why not?

EBERSOL: Because I thought that the material that we have, we had the best. We had the Olympics, we had the NFL, at some point in time we'd have the NBA. We had things that these people really wanted to do and that was a huge attraction.

WALLACE: So I mean, do you think these guys are worth it? I mean, how is it that the people who are in your job now that are paying hundreds of millions of dollars, because ultimately no matter --- and I know, look, Michaels enhances the event, Joe Buck enhances the event.


WALLACE: But I'm going to watch the event anyway. EBERSOL: True. But let's talk about one in particular. I've known Tony

Romo since he first got to the pros. He's an unbelievably engaging guy. He should have been a terrific, great broadcaster.

Something has happened since he got into that chair and it doesn't seem like he is into it, like he was on his way up. He does not seem to be the storyteller that he should be. The thing that makes Michaels and Buck great and all of these guys are they're really storytellers and Tony has gotten further and further away from that, I think.

WALLACE: That's interesting you say that, because I'm very much in a minority, I kind of feel the same about Tony Romo, which is, there's a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of predicting the play, but I don't really feel we're watching the game together.

EBERSOL: I'd love to be his producer for about six months. I think I could cure this quickly.

WALLACE: What would you say to him?

EBERSOL: To get your head in the game. I mean, you've really got to work hard to be prepared. He is a really smart guy. He showed all of those signs, but somewhere along the line, it's not as important. That's how I read it from afar. I'm sure I'll get all kinds of phone calls and notes and stuff like that, but that is how I feel. And, you know, I'm sort of a veteran of the Wallace family. You didn't even have to press hard to get that one.

WALLACE: But I was going to have to --

EBERSOL: You didn't have to press hard.

WALLACE: Is there anybody else you'd like to say controversial things about, you know?

EBERSOL: No, but this is one that -- this is somebody who should be an announcer for the ages, but clearly has lost his passion for it. And I would have him in my office often, not to kick his ass, but just to keep reminding him of what put him there in the first place.

WALLACE: Your book "From Saturday Night to Sunday Night" is essential reading for anybody who loves sports and loves TV like you and I do, and you begin by telling the story, you're at Yale University, Yale College, you're 19 years old, and you drop out to go to work for the legendary Roone Arledge at ABC Sports as the first Olympic researcher. What was that like?

EBERSOL: Well, it was pretty daring, because it was the height of the war in Vietnam and I knew right away my protected status, like so many young Americans was going to go out the window the minute I dropped out of college, but I didn't care. I saw this as the opportunity of a lifetime.

First of all, being an Olympic researcher at ABC at that point in time meant most of your work was for McKay. I mean, it was for other people, too, but most of all for McKay. WALLACE: Jim McKay.

EBERSOL: Yes. And he is arguably even still today, the best storyteller who ever lived in the history of sports. He just -- he pounded it into me that you had -- the research would mean nothing if it just came back as a bunch of bullet points. It had to come back, sort of digging into the story, and then Roone was the final editor. I mean, he sat in the control room for every live broadcast of every Winter or Summer Olympics for the better part of certainly 35 to 40 years.

And he was my teacher, my mentor, and one of the great honors of my life.

WALLACE: You left NBC a decade ago at the age of 63. And, you know, some people retire, you retired. You really stopped working. But I'm curious, why did you decide to stop working at a relatively young age?

EBERSOL: I had the ideal set of circumstances. I never had to go beg for anything. GE wanted this to work, and it did, and it made my life a lot easier. And just seemed like the right thing and waiting at home, if they've got it up was probably the most beautiful woman in the world, so why not? We've been married over 40 years.

WALLACE: Yes, I was going to say, 40 years. How? Why?

EBERSOL: You know why? Because we're each other's best friends.


WALLACE: Weeks after we taped the interview, Dick sent us a statement softening his comments about Tony Romo. In part it reads: "I went too far and frankly, said things that I do not believe and are simply not true. No announcer is more passionate about the NFL than Tony Romo."

You can watch my entire conversations with Dick Ebersol, as well as George Clooney and Guy Fieri right now on HBO Max.

Thank you for watching and catch us right here on CNN every Sunday night to find out WHO IS TALKING next?