Thursday, January 12, 2012

CBS This Morning is not a Dramatic Departure from its Competitors: a Review

The best thing I can say about the new CBS This Morning is that Gayle King was a wonderful choice as co-host.

Erica Hill, Charlie Rose and Gayle King.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for poor ol’ Charlie Rose, who seems just that, old.  (Though he was said to have had a cold this week, which could account for his being hunched over and sullen for most of the show.)

Is the new iteration of the CBS answer to a remade wake-up show a real departure from its competitors?  No, absolutely not.  Will it, as thought by many insiders, usurp Morning Joe on MSNBC for the political set and those in the know.  I don’t think so.

There are some differences between the old (The Early Show) and the new.  The segments are longer.  The hosts and guests sit around a table allowing for better give and take.  And some of the pieces and guests are interesting – especially during premiere week when producers can snag good guests like First Lady Michelle Obama who offered an inside look at the East Wing of the White House.

But for those expecting the second coming of morning shows, the wait continues.

True, executive producer Chris Licht, founding producer of the wonderful Morning Joe is at the helm.   

But it seems as if he has not been given the leeway he needs to put together something completely different than direct competitors Today  and Good Morning America - which is what happens when you move from the free form of cable to a big time broadcast network where there’s far more oversight.  In fact, I’m sure that's why Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinsky of Morning Joe could not be convinced to defect to CBS, as was reported.

While a piece today on adoption in Haiti was hard-hitting and informative, there are still those old conventions like: news at the top of the hour, weather at a few minutes past, local news towards the bottom of the hour and the inevitable promos for CBS content.  Zzzzzz.

I will say the new CBS This Morning is a bit better than its network competitors, but I, personally, will stick with Morning Joe for real news and adult dialogue.  I’m happy to say you can’t beat that and maybe it’s not possible to do so on broadcast TV.

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