Talking about Chinese currency on PBS tonight

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I have joined the rotation of regular commentators on PBS’s Nightly Business Report. Or maybe I should wait until they actually ask me back to say that. In any case, my commentary on China and its currency-manipulating ways (which I defend) is scheduled to air tonight. The show is on WNET in New York at 6:30, on KQED in San Francisco at 7:00 and, well, the rest of you can check your local listings.

I taped the thing last Thursday at the WNET studios near Penn Station. It was my first-ever experience of writing a script for TV and then reading it from a teleprompter, so I practiced for a while at home with a digital recorder to pare the thing down to exactly a minute. I did my first read-through in the studio with no stumbles, only to be told by one of the PBSers that, at a minute and two seconds, it was way too short. Turns out it was supposed to be a minute-and-a-half, not a minute. Oh well.

So I got up and started typing more words into the teleprompter. My first couple of attempts (mainly stuff like changing “U.S.” to “United States”) only got me to a minute fourteen. The far-better-prepared Chrystia Freeland of the FT was waiting in the hallway outside to tape her Thursday commentary and I was feeling guilty about keeping her waiting. So I went out in the hall, wrote another paragraph, added it to the teleprompter text when Chrystia was finished, then filled one minute and twenty-four seconds of videotape. They may use that version or they may, if the show is tight, use the short one. Neither will remind anyone of Andy Rooney. Although at current growth rates my eyebrows will, barring some aggressive grooming, be as bushy as his in a couple of decades.