Defending CBS This Morning

On July 9th, CBS This Morning will celebrate its six month anniversary on-air and the writers behind this blog have been supporters of the show from its debut. The executives at the Tiffany network took a bold step to reshape their morning broadcast after a myriad of unsuccessful attempts to gain a wider audience. What CBS learned – the hard way – was you cannot imitate the market leader. Hence, a new team started from scratch and decided to do away with all the tabloid-like features that air prominently on Today and GMA. But to think that This Morning and its talent have been indirectly responsible for the removal of Ann Curry from NBC’s Today is preposterous.

CBS is chasing after a different audience that is more upscale and prefers to be informed as opposed to be dumbed-down by morning fluff. And nobody should discount the benefits of a smaller, but highly-educated audience. Ads geared towards this demographic command a premium rate. Anyone recall the Cartier Panther ad that aired for a whopping four minutes straight during an episode of The Good Wife? It would be silly not to think that SOME viewers from The Early Show may have defected to GMA or even Today for that matter. But pointing fingers at Charlie Rose, Erica Hill and Gayle King adds little to the conversation.

What is astonishing is that Today thought it could retain the title for number one morning show forever. Now that a worthy competitor has stolen their thunder, all hell seems to have broken loose at 30 Rock. Do executives secretly despise some healthy competition? Will any attempt to stay at number one mean talent needs replacing if warranted? It’s time for the Today folks to do much-needed soul-searching.

We were intrigued by Katie Couric’s comments suggesting that morning shows needed to develop a harder edge; this leads us back to CBS This Morning. For all practical purposes, you cannot even compare the broadcast on CBS to GMA or Today. Why? Well, it may be down to the fact that This Morning is inclusive, incisive, and challenging while the others appear as if they were produced by TMZ. CBS folks (Jeff Fager, Chris Licht, David Rhodes) have to contend with the fact that their broadcast may never be the number one morning show in America. But isn’t it better to have a show that is sophisticated and attempts to serve oatmeal over popsicles to viewers in the morning?

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