Bryant Gumbel re-entered the world of morning TV with scarcely without a hitch today, featuring with an exclusive interview with President Clinton.
"The Early Show" played its ace card almost immediately, broadcasting Clinton's comments on the weekend crash of EgyptAir Flight 900 during the show's opening minutes. "Early," along with its morning news foes "Today" on NBC and ABC's "Good Morning America" led their two-hour programs with updates on the crash.
"We're tremendously excited about this new effort," said Gumbel, a 15-year veteran of "Today," as he opened his new CBS program opened seated very close to co-anchor Jane Clayson, a former ABC News correspondent.
In addition to a lengthy interview with Clinton, which Gumbel had taped Sunday in the Oval Office, "Early's" Day One boasted a brief -- very brief -- chat on the street with possible Clinton replacement Donald Trump, who just happens to the landlord of "Early Show's" new $30 million studio in the GM Building at the corner of 59th and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Trump said he would let "feeling" determine whether he decides to actually run for president. He said that "feeling" is what prompted him to buy the GM building too and is pretty much how he likes to conduct business.
Also featured on the first show was a segment with Kevin James, star of CBS Monday sitcom "King of Queens" touring the GM building's tony neighborhood, including Tiffanys. "Is Tiffany here?" James asked one of the store's salesmen.
There was supposed to be a segment with Mariah Carey, but after she canceled, "Early" filled with Mel Gibson. Last week, the pop diva threw over the CBS show when the network couldn't produce needed city permits for a planned outdoor mini-concert by a Carey-set deadline. She booked on NBC's "Today" show instead, where she performed outdoors on Monday.
"The Early Show" debut marks the beginning of a new campaign to dig CBS out of third place in the 7-to-9 a.m. EST time slot.