The first sign I get that Charlie Rose has entered the room is when the suave maître d' of Michael's restaurant, a haunt of New York's powerbrokers, rushes across to my table and declares, with a thrilled tone: "He's here!" I glance over, and see a tall figure by the door, wearing an understated, tweedy overcoat. It takes a very long time: as he passes each table, he reaches out, shakes hands, graciously receives compliments and exchanges pleasantries, as if on a royal progress.There he grills a sequence of (mostly) powerful or fascinating people, on a set that is famously austere: a trademark oak table, with a simple black backdrop.
"My job [on these shows] is just to ask questions, so with Afghanistan you have to ask: 'Why are we [Americans] there?
People say that we are there because of al-Qaeda, but there is no al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, they are in Pakistan!
After graduation he briefly worked for Bankers Trust bank.
But he quickly decided that he was not cut out for banking.
Perhaps that is fitting; at 69, Rose is one of the nearest things that New York has to media royalty these days.
Each night, he hosts an hourlong, serious interview-cum-talk show, that appears on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliates and (in the past couple of years) on Bloomberg television, too.
Nor—unlike most modern talk shows on American television—is there angry vitriol.
Instead, the show is conducted on Rose's terms, as a genial debate; or, he prefers to say, a lengthy "conversational arc".
"It's fine there," he tells an overly solicitious waiter.