CBS Poised To Replace “Early Show” With “CBS This Morning”

NEW YORK ( Within the first minute of the  “CBS This Morning” launch next week, producer Chris Licht promises, viewers will see something completely new to morning television. The program will be seen locally on CBS2.

He’s keeping the details a surprise, other than to say it will be a quick and entertaining way to catch up with the world. Done well each day, Licht hopes it can become a calling card.

The new year looks to be pivotal for network morning shows. CBS and ABC’s  “Good Morning America” are positioning themselves as distinct alternatives to the longtime king, NBC’s “Today” show, which faces uncertainty over anchor Matt Lauer’s future.

CBS is scrapping ” The Early Show” on Jan. 9 in favor of a new broadcast anchored by Charlie Rose, Erica Hill and Gayle King and said it wants to be more substantive. “Good Morning America” is the fastest-growing program, emphasizing a breezy approach behind James Goldston, the producer who made “Nightline” a success in recent years.

“GMA”‘ was the last competitor to seriously challenge “Today,” which hasn’t lost a single week in the ratings since 1995. “Today” averaged 5.42 million viewers for its first two hours in 2011, up 1 percent from the year before, the Nielsen ratings company said. The “GMA” average of 4.85 million viewers was up 10 percent over 2010, while CBS’ “The Early Show” slid 7 percent to 2.55 million.

Whatever the impact, there seems little doubt that ABC’s audience is growing. The same cannot be said at CBS, even though news executives have pushed “The Early Show” in a meatier direction over the past few months.

CBS has the opportunity to start clean on Jan. 9. The morning show gets a complete revamp, with a new studio, name and Licht, former producer of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” CBS’ mantra is to offer something different.

“Right now viewers basically have two choices,” Licht said. “They have the “Today” show and they have the “Today” show (imitator) with probably a little bit more broad appeal stuff. Those two shows are very similar but are both good at what they do. We need to try to find a third thing. Maybe viewers don’t know if they like it or not because it doesn’t exist right now.”

CBS has let out a handful of details about how it will work. Rose and Hill will be on the show’s first hour, starting at 7 a.m., with former talk-show host King starting at 8 a.m. There’s no weather forecaster. No cooking segments. Veteran newsman John Miller will have a prominent role.

The network won’t be forcing spinach on its viewers, figuratively speaking. But it won’t promote a “cult of personality” either, Licht said.

“If people want to feel like they’re part of a family, it will evolve organically,” he said. “I am not trying to sell that Charlie and Gayle go out for drinks and they’re just part of one big happy family:Here we are, with a slow motion of them hugging each other. That’s not what this is.”

The new anchor team was met with widespread skepticism throughout the industry: How does hiring a former syndicated talk-show host and noted PBS interviewer square with the desire to run a hard news broadcast?

Shelley Ross, former executive producer of both “Good Morning America” and “The Early Show, said Rose is a “kick back and think guy,” Ross said. “And that’s not the morning.”

Licht said Rose is a terrific interviewer who has relationships with the people who run the world in media, business and politics.

“I don’t think anyone would dispute that,” he said. “The skepticism is ‘Is he right for the morning?’ And I don’t think you’re going to know that until you see that.”

For both CBS and ABC, a rare competitive opportunity may present itself. It’s not clear whether Lauer wants to continue when his contract ends this year. NBC has discussed a role on the “Today” show with “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, with some reports that he could replace Lauer.

Hugely important decisions loom. “Today” hums along when there are good transitions – Katie Couric to Meredith Vieira, or Bryant Gumbel to Lauer – but runs aground from mistakes like Deborah Norville replacing Jane Pauley.

“Usually the other programs catch up when the `Today’ show screws up,” said Stephen Battaglio, author of “From Yesterday to Today: Six Decades of America’s Favorite Morning Show.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • newslady

    Ihaven’t liked the CBS morning news since Harry Smith left and didn’t know he was on NBC till I read it here. That’s where I’m going now.

  • Dusty

    Charlie Rose appeared almost asleep and I thought his monotone voice boring. Gayle King didn’t add anything to the show as far as I’m concerned. All I could stand was about 15 minutes then I changed to GMA.

  • joy

    Uh ho CBS! I have never watched CBS in the morning! Then with Erica, Chris, Jeff & the others you had fresh faces & young adults on your side! I have watched CBS Morning since they started! I was traveling yesterday & heard about this & I will not even bother to try it!

  • ale2012

    The new early show is awful. I have tried to watch it the last 2 days but I can’t stand it. I have always watched CBS but no longer. CBS what were you thinking.

  • Debra McBride

    I have been a faithful fan of this show for several years. I hate the new show, I do not want to watch the evenining news first thing in the morning. I hate the whole format and will definitely find something else to watch. Very disappointed.

  • pat

    Looks like they are trying to destroy their selves. That is the worst set up ever.
    It wasn’t very good this morning. I won’t be watching it any more either. They went from bad to worse.

  • Kim, IN

    This is just too bad. Harry, Maggie & Dave were good- a departure from the Hollywood fluff on NBC & ABC. This combo is just painfully awkward. Charlie- too good. Gail- not qualified. Poor Erica- where are her friends? Lost.

    • mine

      Gail is very much qualified, Erica doesn’t seem to know what she wants to do.

  • N. Walter

    Couldn’t have made a worse decision. Everything about this stinks…especially the 3 hosts chosen. Start over!

  • Mary D

    Lose the round table! Nobody wants to look at the back of someone’s head when they’re talking.I like Gayle but won’t watch this format…

  • michelle

    Wow the changes are awful . I think the producers should stop trying to one up on other networks and remember its the viewers you need to please or you wont be on the air period . I miss the crew that was in place already what a sad day . I think i will be turning the channel also ..

  • X-CBS Watcher

    Enjoyed watching Harry, Maggie and Dave – CBS has destroyed their morning show by changing them out. CBS Morning is certain to fail with the newest group. As for me and my family and friends – Watching NBC starting January 9, 2012.

  • Loyal CBS show Guy!

    I agree you should have left Wraggie and Hill for the weekend. I like Rebecca Jarvis and Jeff Glor they are young and exciting. They should bring back Jane Clayson. She was the best they ever had. Miss her a lot! Miss Dave the weather guy. Now you want me to watch an old Man and a fat Gayle King.

    RIP for CBS This Morning………………

  • Marge Seidl

    I’m so excited about Gayle King coming to the show. I will switch from my routine of watching the Today show and watch CBS This Morning. I’m thrilled about her addition to the show

    • oscar

      Just give Gayle King her own show. She is good.

      • mine

        I definitely agree

  • Donna Davis

    OMG Gail King! If it were’nt for riding Operas’ coat tails she would’nt even have a job. I’ll be changing the channel for my news.

  • oscar

    Hey what happened, I was just getting use to the CBS morning team, and then POW!, a change for 2012. Looks like the big boys on top can’t come up with a formula or give their crew a chance to succeed, oh well back to watch the Today Show in the morning, thanks for making it so easy to go back to NBC.

  • Flash

    Looks like more stupid changes at CBS. They go from bad to worse how about making some changes at the top. The best team you had was Harry, Erica, Maggie and Dave. Glad to hear Harry called it quits with CBS and went to NBC. That is what I am doing when it comes to the early morning news.

  • BYE from Columbus OH

    To CBS Folks
    I liked Harry and crew then there was the shake up. I held on with new crew but wow, your shaking it up again after I’ve grown to favor them. I’m tired of CBS jerking my morning news around. I love Charlie Rose on PBS, he’s worth staying late up for. Gayle can hold her own, however, people associate her too much with another famous and wonderful woman. Since I don’t like how CBS jerks its viewers around. and now that I know Harry Smith is on NBC, I think I will transfer to his show. CBS is not going to make it to number one in treating its viewers like this. So Long, from Columbus, OH.

  • nascarnanny

    Glad you ditched Chris Wragge! His arrogance was an unwelcome addition to the “Early Show” after Harry Smith’s departure.

  • brandy j warren

    I will no longer be a CBS watcher. I thought Chris Wragge and Jeff Glor, along with Erica Hill made the morning interesting. I don’t care to watch such a serious news channel in the MORNING– especially with Gayle King. Seriously!! I guess I will be watching NBC- plus they can entertain me with Kathie Lee and Hoda. Erica- if I were you, I think I’d be begging NBC for a job if you want JOB SECURITY!!!!!

  • plain viewer

    Just be HONEST and REAL. There are too many egotisits in broadcasting like Kelly R. We need plain folks who are just like us.



  • Ellen-Jacksonville

    I was a regular viewer of the Morning Show beause of Chris, Erica and the rest of the cast. If I wanted to watch Charlie Rose I’d go to PBS. If I wanted to watch Gayle King I’d go to OWN. Can’t believe CBS is making this mistake. Where is the old cast going? Where ever it is, I’ll be watching them. In the meantime, guess I’ll be watching NBC and ABC.

  • Judy

    You should have replaced Erica Hill also, she is not an asset.

    • Laura HB, CA

      The problem was not with the anchors. It was with producers. Good Luck anyway. But I don’t plan on tuning in.

  • C. Hawk

    Harry Smith is great…on NBC!

  • Pat

    I hate what you are doing with CBS moning show. I also, have gone to NBC

  • Manhattanite

    Gayle King? Really? She’s not a journalist…so much for taking a hard line approach to news. At least we’ll finally see a true, respected journalist in the morning with Charlie Rose. As for Chris Wragge, I guess I’ll just have to see him in the neighborhood instead of channel 2!

  • Dorrice Leake

    Where is Harry, Maggir, & Dave???? Your new show sucks!!!


      I AGREE 100%

  • Momof4

    Thinking I will be checking out NBC… Totally agree with Hawaiifan.

  • Barbara

    What is going on?? What happened to Jeff Glor.?? and Chris Ragge? Thank goodness, Erica Hill will still be on. If it weren’t for Erica, I will be switching channels.

  • JB

    I like Charlie Rose and i am glad you are keeping Erica and Jeff and the other lady but what about Chris Wagg? He was very good as well.



  • Denise

    Well i wont be watching early show again!
    Love chris and erica is HORRIBLE!!! Dont care for the others at all.
    Ill be looking for wherever chris goes.

  • sid

    I don’t know about this one. I will watch and give it a chance.

  • Elsa Hemphill

    OMG give them a break get your head out of your asssss. Gayle is her own person, she can hold her own with anyone. Can’t wait to see the new CBS Morning show.

  • Taybor

    I will be tuning in to see Charlie Rose who I respect as a journalist. I’ve never seen Gale King on tv and wouldn’t even know her name if not for seeing it on the tabloid headlines, linked with Oprah’s name, while I am trying to get out at the grocery store.
    Since Mr. Rose is such an insightful interviewer, I will give this new show my eyeballs for a couple of weeks to see if it’s worth my time. Otherwise I will go back to watching cooking shows on my DVR as I get dressed for work.

  • Jeanne Callahan

    Gayle King…..REALLY!!!!!! I can’t believe you are making this change. Jeff Glor and Rebecca Jarvis were a great add to the show. Time to switch to another .channel…..

  • Ginger

    You’ve lost another ‘Early Show’ viewer!! I was upset when we lost Harry and Maggie. I was willing to ‘roll with it’ – now you’ve changed the cast yet again, I am no longer ‘rolling with it’ – I’ll not watch again.

  • Sherry

    I’m done with CBS in the morning now too. I was so disappointed when they got rid of Harry, Maggie and Dave. Here they go again.

  • Mark F

    Gayle King? Are you kidding me? Where did she get her journalism degree? The U of O? Unbelievable. So much for real news and interviews. And no weather? Goodbye CBS and hello NBC!

  • Robert E. Miller

    Should have left Wraggie & Hill on the weekends ! Just could’nt watch them on the weekly show. They just did’nt seem sincere with interviews and topics. Maggie Rodrigues & Harry Smith were far superior ! ! These two you have on this morning are aready batting a 1000 . Thanks for dumping Wraggie & Hill ! I’ll give you guys another try !

  • patricia

    Really? This sounds like more craziness on CBS’ part.And no weather segment? That is one of the main reasons for watching these morning programs. I have watched the am weather for at least 45 years.Good luck with the new programing. I’ll be hanging out with Al Roper “today”.

  • Gail Lynn-Casson

    Wont watch the early show!! Agree about Gayle King, She should thank Oprah for her work. What happens to the other anchors on cbs? Poor Erica Hill……How long will she stay>

  • hawaiifan

    I agree with the other two comments. I have enjoyed the Early Show in the past, then they brought in Chris Wraggie and ruined it, or at least I thought so. But now with Gayle King, gee, not sure I will even bother to turn it on. She is obnoxious to say the least. The Early Show has gone downhill since CBS got rid of Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Price. I would think CBS would want to bring someone in that’s going to draw an audience, not push us away. Sorry CBS, but you’ve lost one more viewer in the morning.

  • muralman

    I can officially say that I won’t be watching CBS This Morning. Some old fart and Gayle King. The only reason she’s famous is because of Oprah. Don’t know why they can’t leave it alone.

  • TV critic

    Looks like another failed CBS morning program unless Gayle King brings Oprah along everyday.

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