I subscribe to the podcast version of "The Treatment," Elvis Mitchell's weekly movie-themed interview show on KRCRW. At the end of every episode, Mitchell will thank the guest for being there, and the guest will inevitably thank him for the experience. I've done enough interviews over the years to know that this kind of flattery is hard-wired into the DNA of any celebrity with even an iota of PR training, and to be able to spot a sincere version of it.
Those exchanges at the end of "The Treatment" almost always sound sincere, because Mitchell is not only a great interviewer, but the type who likes to ask questions his subjects likely haven't heard before. (He once spent a half-hour talking to Walton Goggins from "The Shield" about lighting, and it was really interesting.) When being interviewed is a regular part of your career, you tend to glaze over at hearing the same types of questions over and over, and you also tend to perk up and become more enthusiastic when the conversation travels down a path you're passionate about but that hasn't come up before. When Jon Favreau did the show earlier this summer to talk about "Iron Man," you could tell he was genuinely excited to start talking about Joseph Campbell, because it's the sort of thing that doesn't usually come up at the junkets.
The reason I bring this up is that Mitchell is taking his act to television, with the debut of "Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence" tonight at 8 on Turner Classic Movies. The idea is that Mitchell asks his guests -- starting with one of the final interviews Sydney Pollack did, then following up with people like Bill Murray and Laurence Fishburne -- to talk about artists and movies that influenced them. This works well with people like Murray, who usually seems pained when giving interviews and tries to avoid it whenever possible; since Mitchell is primarily asking about other actors he admires, it relaxes Murray enough that he's willing to open up whenever the subject turns back to himself.
If you enjoy showbiz interviews with more than a little substance (and, yes, there is such a thing), it's worth checking out.