Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning Rises Well Above GMA and Today
TVFirstLook

Norah O'Donnell
In early morning news, there's a bitter battle brewing between No. 1 ranked Good Morning America on ABC and No. 2 ranked Today on NBC. Earlier this year, GMA dethroned Today with its first full-season win since the 1990s. Now, GMA's lead over Today is more than 600,000 viewers each day, based on Nielsen ratings for the week ending Nov. 22.

But, when it comes to quality, CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King stands head and shoulders above its bigger rivals. Hands down.

GMA and Today do what they do well. They've both got multiple hosts hanging around bright sets (sometimes, dizzingly so) with bright-smiled hosts laughing their way through serious news, weather, sports and light-hearted celebrity interviews. They do it well and the shows have big audiences as a result (5.92 million viewers and 5.26 million, respectively).

CBS, with an audience of 3.32 million viewers, up 24% from this time last year, takes a different approach to early morning news, and it has since the show relaunched in January 2012.

CBS This Morning provides news with some light-hearted segments and certainly a good amount of laughs. But, where its competitors have guffaws, CBS This Morning's Charlie, Norah and Gayle have chuckles.

But chuckles in between serious news with in-depth, insightful segments from correspondents who know what they're talking about and have resumes to back it up. Like senior correspondent John Miller whose previous gig was Deputy Director of the Analysis Division of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The show isn't stuffy, though. Although, co-host Charlie Rose - smart, quiet, thoughtful - sometimes comes close to taking the show there, in a good way. The PBS fixture lifts the show's quality quotient by simply showing up each morning.

As does Norah O'Donnell whose good looks and bright smile hardly diminish her smarts.

On the lighter side, Gayle King is great on the show. Oprah's BFF picked up some fantastic interviewing skills along the way. And it shows in her sitdown interviews with celebrities. But she's also sharp when all three co-hosts are roundtabling political pundits.

The show has been executive produced since 2011 by Chris Licht whose background includes gigs at MSNBC and local news outlets such as KNBC Los Angeles.

Randi Lennon directs the show, which is beautiful to look at and entertaining to watch. And it may just make you feel like the smartest kid in the classroom.

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