Where have you gone, Maria Bartiromo? Financial news viewers no longer have to wonder. The veteran anchor and correspondent, who became a star reporting from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on CNBC, is back today on Fox Business Network. She has a new daily two-hour show, Opening Bell With Maria Bartiromo (weekdays at 9am/8c). By the end of March, she'll also be anchoring her own Sunday morning program on Fox News Channel, where politicos will get grilled on economic issues. Bartiromo tells TV Guide Magazine how financial TV news has to change — and why she still loves Brooklyn.
TV Guide Magazine: Ratings for business news overall have been pretty challenged lately. I know they've had some growth over at Fox Business Network, but it's been tough for the whole category. Why do you think that is and how do you turn it around?
Maria Bartiromo: I think a couple of things happened. And to be honest with you, I did talk about this when I was at CNBC and they really didn't agree, but I feel that today viewers want something different. I remember when, over the years, it was all about the stock market. Being at CNBC watching all the different cycles, whether it was globalization and the empowerment of people, the independent investor revolution or the dot-com boom. People wanted to know, "What's the market doing?" It's changed. I think viewers want something different today. They want a broader look into business in general. They want to know how to create jobs. They want to talk about where the growth is. They want to talk about how technology has changed so many things from the consumer market to health care. People don't want the quick, knee jerk, five people on the air at once screaming. They want a deeper analysis.
It's also the digital revolution. Look, if I want to know what the Fed did, I can get it on my iPhone. If I want to know how the stocks are doing, I can get it on my iPad. You can get this information in so many places so it's on the broadcaster to bring something else. The fact is that people don't watch television just for numbers. There was a time when people would watch for the stock ticker. I think you turn on your TV because you trust someone. You trust their opinion and you trust their analysis or their perspective about a story. That's what I feel like I can bring to the table.
TV Guide Magazine: You obviously watched a lot of Fox News before making the decision to go over there. Give me your take on how it's different from CNBC.
Bartiromo: I feel like I'll be different in the way that I just said. I'm going to try to get away from the short term-ism and try to bring people business coverage that has perspective — longer interviews, get informed people on the air to have deeper discussion about what's going on. Get people who have a stake in the group and are allocating capital in this market, people who have a lot of money under their management, CEOs who are on the frontlines to talk deeply about a certain issue and not do it in a sound bite situation or knee jerk reaction. That's how I'll differentiate myself.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you retired your nickname "The Money Honey"?
Bartiromo: I never used it. The media used it. I'm not upset about it.
TV Guide Magazine: Why did you trademark it?
Bartiromo: I trademarked it and I still own it. I wanted to create my own company to teach people about money. I wrote some scripts. Remember Schoolhouse Rock? I wanted to create one-minute videos for kids about business, economy, and the stock market. I hired an animator and they did a great job. One of my characters was a jar of honey and I was calling that character "Money Honey." Another character was a stack of quarters with a smiley face on it. All it was, was two characters explaining what a stock is. Well as soon as it was found out that I did this, everyone was like, "She's trade marking it and she's going to make stuffed animals!" And I was like, "What?" It was so off the mark so that is where all of that came from. I still think it is a great name for a character in financial literacy. [Potential investors said] 'This should be a non-profit.' So my plans to start my company and teach kids really fell flat and I got really busy. It was hard because I wasn't willing to give up my job to do it.
TV Guide Magazine: So should we no longer use the nickname?
Bartiromo: Well I'm proud to have been able to pioneer broadcasting from the New York Stock Exchange in real time and there have been many women that have followed me and I'm proud of that. I don't think of myself as 'The Money Honey.' Back then it was a new thing, and I was the first person to report from the floor so I can understand that tabloids came up with it and they were using it. If you're trying to get me to say, 'Hey, I'm insulted, don't use it,' I'm not going to. I don't care.
TV Guide Magazine: How often do you go back to Brooklyn where you were raised?
Bartiromo: Oh, I go back a lot. My parents still live there and I love Brooklyn.
TV Guide Magazine: Is it recognizable? So much has changed.
Bartiromo: My neighborhood is pretty much intact. My parents are there — they're 81 — and I keep telling them to go move near my sister Theresa in Connecticut. She's a nurse. They're not sick or anything but they will not leave Brooklyn because they want to be close to me. They shoot into the city and show up unannounced. They're so adorable. I love Brooklyn, and I love that my parents still live there. I can see them often.