Celebrating 25 years of "Charlie Rose" and his iconic table

Friday, Sept. 30, marks 25 years since the first broadcast of “Charlie Rose” on PBS in New York.   

To salute this milestone and to celebrate all of the “CBS This Morning” co-host’s engaging conversations at his iconic table, his friend, actor Bradley Cooper, looked back at its rich history.  

Artists looking to master their craft have instruments. For Charlie Rose, master of the art of conversation, one unforgettable instrument is his tiger oak table, set against a stark black background. Last year, Time Magazine’s managing editor Nancy Gibbs asked Rose what so many of us have wondered.
 
“What’s the deal with the table and the black?” Gibbs asked.

“The deal was poverty,” Rose answered. “I bought that table myself. I knew that if I could put a table in the room with not much light and a couple of chairs, I could have a real conversation. And I know that people – all of you – like to eavesdrop on a conversation. And that was the idea.”

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Charlie Rose purchased his iconic table for his PBS program himself

The idea came during a meeting with Rolling Stone editor and publisher Jann Wenner. 

“Charlie was over here visiting me one day. He just remarked how much he like the round table and how easy it was to have a conversation,” Wenner said.

A couple of days later, Rose called back to ask if he could buy the table.

“And I said I just can’t, because that’s actually been my own desk for the first 10 years at Rolling Stone,” Wenner said. “Well, I told him where he could get one like it. It wasn’t going to matter to him.”

“I knew that if you had a table, in which the essence was an interview. But an interview is at the core of drama, fiction, real life,” Rose told Gibbs. “It is in essence, the notion of a dialogue between two people, is what an interview is. And that’s at the core of so much communication.”

It’s those stories, said Christie’s appraiser Andrew Holter, that make it challenging to put a price tag on something like this. 

“This is an irreplaceable object. When you think of the ‘Charlie Rose’ show, you think of a dark room, you think of this warm table that sits in front of Charlie and his guests,” Holter said. “The years of history, the number of people that have sat here, the way he is able to pull things out of his guest that nobody else that nobody else can do. I mean this is a treasure and it should end up in the Smithsonian.”