As you may or may not know, half of Sports Casualties takes an avid interest in stocks, painstakingly investigates the commodities market, and follows the S&P500’s every move. Here are the five reasons why. (UPDATE: “CNBC Fab 5 Pics” weekly recaps!)
Melissa Francis, “The Empress of Energy”
Drew Barrymore has nothing on this former child star. Exhibit A on why dapper curmudgeon Larry Kudlow has the best job on the planet, “The Call” co-host was destined for top-shelf, Aaron Spelling-type television greatness from the very beginning. She appeared in a Johnson & Johnson shampoo commercial before her first birthday and then went on to bigger and better things – first as “Little House on the Prairie’s” wide-eyed Cassandra Cooper Ingalls and then in cheeseball ’80s shows like “Joe’s World” and “St. Elsewhere.” Rumor is she even inspired uber-babe Elizabeth Banks‘ role in NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” a genius move that probably saved ratings-liability Jeff Zucker’s job.
She would be justified in kicking your ass if you ever called her a dumb blonde, but would probably just whip out her Harvard degree to save time. Now in her mid 30s, Melissa’s CNBC cache took off some years ago when Kudlow dubbed her “The Empress of Energy” for successfully predicting America’s ethanol boon. She was also known to flirt with ex-CNBC employee Dylan Ratigan while spelling Maria Bartiromo on “The Closing Bell.” On one memorable occasion, she invited herself over to his house in the Hamptons on live TV. I’ve modeled my behavior after Dylan ever since.
When You Can Find Her: 11 a.m. to 12 noon on “The Call” when she gets back from maternity leave. Also be sure to check TV Land for “Prairie” reruns and MSNBC’s “It’s The Economy” for tag-team spots with fellow babe Contessa Brewer.
Trish Regan, “Miss New Hampshire”
Exhibit B for why dapper curmudgeon Larry Kudlow has the best job on the planet, the blue-eyed brunette and “Call” co co-host looked like a small spaceship for most of ’09, but has since regained her hotness after recently giving birth to twins, Maynard and Keynes Regan (kidding). Trish lived up to her babe-sounding name early on by basing the (perhaps lax) competition to win the ’93 Miss New Hampshire crown. She then took her considerable songstress talents overseas where she studied classical voice in Austria with other hot white people.
Once back in the states, Regan enrolled at hippie bastion Colombia University, good training for her ’09 investigative report, “Marijuana Inc.: Inside America’s Pot Industry.” She then began her post-graduation professional career as an emerging debt markets analysts for Goldman Sachs and married an investment banker shortly after (Look for her at a Congressional hearing near you!). These days, The Reganmeister, 37, is sticking it to former employer CBS with her Emmy-nominated commentary and overall awesomeness. In 2006, the Houston Chronicle proclaimed her “a future star” and one of 10 newswomen to watch. Couldn’t agree more. Bullish on Regan’s prospects.
When You Can Find Her: 11 a.m. to 12 noon on “The Call.”
Michelle Curuso-Cabrera, “The Profile”
What’s there to say about the Latina vixen that hasn’t already been said (by my father)? Perky in more ways than one, the “Power Lunch” linchpin is a perfect foil for UF’s own impossibly smug a-hole Dennis Kneale because, frankly, when Michelle sits at an angle, you’re really not paying attention to Dennis.
In an interview with Rachel Maddow, she said she leaned “very far to the right,” as in, right in SC’s wheelhouse. Michelle has ties to both Tampa – she was a fish-out-of-water (read: smokin’) reporter for WTSP in nearby St. Pete – and Miami, where she produced Emmy-winning programming for Spanish-language Univision, TV’s equivalent of South Beach.
Fiery and aggressive, she never shies away from a tough question or an opportunity to lean into the camera. She’s in the business of keeping talking heads honest and usually the one to ask questions like, “If the market had gone up 1,000 points, would we still be having this conversation?”
Michelle has an inimitable penchant for both diagnosing the economic zeitgeist and filling out a white sweater. Indeed, she cannot walk the streets of Los Angeles without being mistaken for a Trojan Song Girl. Lucky for her, then, that CNBC ties her to the East Coast, where she goes about fulfilling her day-to-day duties as being the greatest thing that ever happened to Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
When You Can Find Her: 12 to 2 p.m. on “Power Lunch” with the matronly Sue Herera, host Tyler Mathisen and aforementioned a-hole Dennis Kneale.
Erin Burnett, “The Street Sweetie”
An omnipresent network star, Erin is the kind of woman you’d take home to your mom and then deploy against your crazy grandpa when he starts talking politics. Her nickname is dead on – sophisticated and subtly smokin’, she’s pretty much the girl next door… in my fantasy neighborhood, at least. The effervescent brunette is so feisty and buoyant that she even makes morning crank Mark Haines palatable. And that Haines has never made an on-air move on her probably speaks more to Burnett’s classiness than Mark’s old age or grouchy demeanor (or wife).
Erin deserves a special SC nod for her participation in collegiate athletics at Williams College in Massachusetts. Her years of cross-training for lacrosse and field hockey pay major dividends when CNBC ships her to the rugged terrains of India, Arabia and North Africa for groundbreaking live coverage. Like Regan, she started her career at Goldman Sachs, but then moved to Bloomberg Media upon realizing she had a conscience. In her spare time, Erin became a vice president at Citigroup and wrote for CNN’s “Moneyline.” Still only 33, she’s been heralded as “Maria 2.0” by people that have obviously never seen Maria Bartiromo stand up.
On a personal note, she’s always been a huge favorite of mine, and pretty much the reason that I started investing. Burnett’s never met a witty question she didn’t like to stick to some unsuspecting CEO and Joe Terranova almost drowned in a puddle of drool when she guest-hosted “Fast Money.” That’s my kind’a lady.
When You Can Find Her: 9 to 11 a.m. on “Squawk on the Street” and 2 to 3 p.m. as anchor of “Street Signs.”
Amanda Drury, “The ‘Holy Sh**, You Can’t Be Serious’”
Remember how the bad guys in the first Indiana Jones movie melted when they looked directly at the Ark? Meet Mandy Drury, the exotic beauty from Down Under that has not so occasionally been confused for a Connery-era Bond girl. The impl transplant from Sydney possesses the sort of jaw-drop appeal that reduces red-blooded males to stuttering masses of ogle. So you can’t blame the likes of Robert Reich for looking like a total fool every time he goes mano-a-mano with a Drury-flanked Kudlow. Advantage: anchor with goddess in tow.
Mandy’s only been in financial journalism for 10 years, but has already conquered the entire Asian Pacific with her knee-buckling accent and hosting roles on international incarnations of “Squawk Box” and “Cash Flow.” She holds bachelor’s degrees from Melbourne University in fine arts, Japanese and French, but has never actually spoken French in public for fear of halting local commerce. Startlingly, Drury actually began her career as a radio personality in Sydney, and still holds the distinction of being the only person more underutilized than UM’s Devin Hester.
And as per the timing of this post, know that Monday, May 10 is destined to go down in history as a watershed 24 hours for both cable TV and America in general. It was on this day that I may or may not have performed a series of one-handed cartwheels through the halls of my apartment in celebration of CNBC’s announcement that Drury is now a full-time U.S. anchor (though I do question the timing given the country’s dire economic circumstances – Mandy is to productivity what rate hikes are to the Nasdaq). My summer grades have no chance.
Where You Can Find Her: 11 to 12 noon on “The Call” for now, but I’m sure she’ll have her own show by year end.
You’re welcome in advance.