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Anderson -- The Next Babwa With Cred

6/21/2006 4:38 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The landscape of TV news changed last night.

Anderson Cooper is now positioned to possibly become the dominant personality when it comes to the big "get." The importance of his interview with Angelina Joile cannot be overstated. She is probably the most sought after celebrity in the world. Rest assured, Barbara and Diane were salivating to get this one.

Angelina Jolie, Anderson Cooper

Yet it was Cooper who scored, and I can tell you he did not even seek Joile out -- she came to him. I'm told by unimpeachable sources that the reports that CNN paid for the interview are absolutely bogus. It was Angelina who wanted Anderson.

Cooper is already loved by his CNN bosses, but more significant is that he will now have a platform as a special correspondent on "60 Minutes." There's no doubt in my mind -- the execs at "60 Minutes" are going nuts today, knowing that Anderson can land the big ones.

In this business, success begets success. Anderson's hugely successful interview will become a calling card of sorts. Hey, if it's good enough for Angelina..... But maybe even more significant, I can see other stars and their reps seeking him out. He doesn't have the tabloid tinge that has permanently marked Barbara and Diane. He's smart, fair and sitting for an interview with him creates an air of respectability for the stars. He could easily become "60 Minutes'" secret weapon.

I really like Anderson. I know him casually, mostly from doing his show. From what I see, he's a genuinely nice, self-effacing, humble guy. He certainly doesn't cop the "I'm bigger than the people I interview" attitude. If he plays his cards right, Anderson could become the top dog in "gets," and I'm thinking that's gonna happen.

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