BA on Assignment

January 9, 2012

Network Morning Showdown

The Morning shows for the networks have always been a significant part of their news revenues, but, of late, the genre has turned into a juggernaut. I like that word – JUG-GER-NAUT. 🙂

And now, CBS had endeavored to re-create themselves for the ump-teenth time. I think this is version # three since I became a media type. And of all the versions, I think this one is the best…

CBS This Morning: I like the way Chris Licht has taken the cable format from Morning Joe and put it on a network. It looks completely different from the standard morning show format and that’s great.

The look of the show is completely cable; Very industry forward. Of note: The eye opener. Gets right to the point. Excellent. Now they just need to slide in some spot-on segments that speak directly to viewers and they might not continue being a distant third.

To work through: Most of the people I’ve talked to don’t like the casting. They like the idea of Gayle King, but, think Charlie Rose is too old and have no idea who Erica Hill is.

And since you brought up Erica Hill, I need to take a moment to express my sympathies to her. Poor thing can’t get a word in edgewise with Charlie and Gayle. Note to Charlie: There are other people on this show with you…

Good Morning America: Standard format, but, also having casting problems. Haven’t spoken to anyone who likes Stephanopoulos in this role. I don’t either. As previously stated in another post, getting him back to This Week was a good fix. Fix the rest.

Also not clicking with Josh Elliott. Just seems out of place, like he doesn’t belong there. Liked Ju Ju Chang better. My pick for a strong anchor team: Robin Roberts and Bill Weir. Bill Weir has the kind of personality that works at 7:00 in the morning and also has a large enough personality not to get overshadowed by Robin. Nightline can survive with Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran. Take the hint ABC…

The Today Show: I saved this 4 hour JUG-GER-NAUT for last…
Who needs 4 hours of The Today Show? This is crazy. I mean, Today is so far ahead, it’s such a confirmed brand that they can do just about anything they want, get away with it and still be #1.

For instance, they will put anyone on TV. Jenna Bush is a correspondent? What did she do before that again? Oh yes, she was partying in college and spending her spare time at The White House. Cody Gifford is a film critic? Oh yes, he’s in film school at NYU, that’s a perfect part-time job for a college student.

And they have so many random contributors for whom I have no idea what makes them special. It’s just gotten out of control. And by hour 4 with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, It’s just plain old silly. For me, it damages the brand.

But, they have done one thing extremely well. The one thing the other two networks can’t get right – Casting and succession planning. The main hosts for Today stick around and consistency my friends, is winning the morning show wars.

Fact is this – As a journalist, I like CBS This Morning because its fresh, efficient and substantive. As a consumer I like CBS This Morning because it looks different than the other shows and I’m done looking at the same dull format.

So, CBS needs to work on consistency; ABC needs to work on originality and NBC needs to get serious about efficiency. Until then, I think I’ll just sleep in…