If you've ever dabbled in the stock market, chances are you know who Jim Cramer is. Cramer has been a major player on Wall Street for decades. And now he's got a new and very different television show. It's called "Mad Money," airing on cable channel CNBC.
Without question, Jim Cramer is a virtuoso of the stock market. Back in the 1990s, Cramer made a fortune and never has to work again. But the man is so obsessed with stocks that there's no keeping him home. And having gotten rich himself off the market, Cramer now wants to make you rich.
Correspondent Dan Rather reports.
In the morning, Jim Cramer – always bursting with energy – just can't wait to get to work at the swanky CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. His executive producer, Susan Krakower, is already there getting read in on the day's business news.
Cramer and Krakower have a nightly, hour-long stock market show to put on. Every day at their morning meeting, they struggle to find the day's big business story, sometimes making their pick just hours before the broadcast.
The show is called "Mad Money." And it's simply about the promise of viewers striking it rich in the stock market. In a matter of months, it has become CNBC's most popular show with more than 380,000 viewers watching every week night.
"This show is the way for me to educate, to entertain, to help people make money, and I think it's working. And I'm totally driven by it. It is just a huge amount of fun," says Cramer.
Unlike most business shows, where analysts are gun-shy about pushing stocks, Cramer lays it on the line. He clearly tells you what stocks he thinks you ought to buy or sell and in the process serves up a basic economics lesson.
"These two big countries, China and India, they're finally acting like capitalists and you got to understand capitalism, my friends, is about conspicuous consumption," Cramer told his viewers recently.
The day 60 Minutes spent at CNBC's studios, Cramer and Krakower chose to lead their show with the topic of diamonds.
"Diamonds! Think about it! Billions of people been gettin' married without buying diamond rings in that country. They're communists. They don't do that kinda thing. But not now. Now when people in China or India decide to get hitched they do what we do. They do what the Europeans do. They buy the darn diamonds," Cramer told his audience.
Cramer then pushed the stock of Anglo-American. It's a British producer of gold, platinum and diamonds. Since the show, the stock has gone up over five percent before leveling off.
Cramer's picks often move the market. But he's had his share of clunkers, too. After he recommended Dick's Sporting Goods, the stock got slammed, and Cramer was humbled.
"I blew it. I blew the call," admits Cramer. "And I think you have to own up to 'em, admit 'em. You can't say, 'Hey, listen, I was early on that,' or 'the Dicks, hey, you know, hey, listen, it's not so bad. It's only down, hey.' No! It's horrible!"