CBS News’ two new-ish chiefs, chairman Jeff Fager and president David Rhodes have been indicating for a while now that they thought “The Early Show” needed nuking, because why should NBC, ABC and CBS’ morning infotainment shows all look exactly alike?
On Tuesday, the network news division will unveil a new program for the mornings, helmed by Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey BFF Gayle King.
Reports the two were taking over CBS’s morning news block have been circulating for weeks now, along with reports the show would be heavy on hard news — with correspondents like John Miller, the sometime journalist/sometime law enforcement-cum-counter terrorism official — because that’s how Fager and Rhodes roll.
All these reports appear to have caused a certain amount of freak-outage and arm flapping at the other networks, from whence suits have been anonymously advising The Reporters Who Cover Television to mention that the presence of Rose suggests CBS is conceding the point and going after an old demographic with its new program.
But, on Tuesday, CBS is not going to announce a new “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” in the morning, and we hear there will be “plenty of entertainment” on the new program — as evidenced by the presence of King.
That said, the show the network will trot out, at a gathering in New York, will definitely consist of less fluff and more substance than “The Early Show” — which, let’s face it, won’t be hard to accomplish.
The new show will not be based in the GM building at the southeast corner of Central Park.
Rose has a long and cordial relationship with CBS from his days working on the “60 Minutes” franchise. King did a syndicated talk show with CBS back when, that did not do real well. Oprah’s enormously successful syndicated show was distributed by King World, which was purchased by CBS.
“The Early Show” is running third among the three broadcast infotainment shows – but you already knew that, because otherwise why would CBS News be nuking it. In CBS’s defense, it got into the morning infotainment later than NBC.
In recent years, CBS’s morning show has been a revolving door of hosts including Bryant Gumbel, Jane Clayson, Julie Chen, Harry Smith, Hannah Storm, etc. with little ratings success.
So, stay tuned for Tuesday’s announcement.
Called for on the record comment, CBS declined.