There are many who believe Jeff Zucker is the man to revitalize CNN and bring about much-needed change. But is he capable of putting the “news” back into Cable News Network? Someone who has accomplished that and more is Chris Licht. As Executive Producer of CBS This Morning, Licht quietly relaunched the Tiffany network’s flagship morning show and gave it an enduring identity that would counter Today and GMA. While ABC and NBC continue their ratings battle, CBS This Morning still finds itself in third place. But one year after its relaunch, there is confidence as ratings have shown a steady increase. At times, some broadcasts are stronger than others. Yet one aspect is clear; viewers will be treated to a diverse group of stories. Some soft. Some hard. CBS also seems comfortable being the network that evokes gravitas. And Charlie Rose, Gayle King and newly-added Norah O’Donnell are capable of projecting a calibrated level of gravitas.
There are not many things that need changing. But more international stories or guests would not hurt. How about an interview with the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist? A review of the namesake movie directed by Mira Nair which stars Kate Hudson? Get the drift? The music playlist could be diversified a la NPR; my buddy David Lowe could remedy that issue. Being in third place also allows producers a level of flexibility to tinker with show elements to see what works and what doesn’t. For now, CBS This Morning seems to have found some success. The bigger question is whether CBS can ever be number one in the morning wars? Probably…not. But Licht and his team can hold their heads up high and be proud of what they have accomplished: putting the news back into our mornings.
Post Updated: 2/24