Station to Station

Affiliates Ponder 'Early Show' Change

11/11/2011 04:30:00 PM

CBS affiliates treated news of yet another shakeup in the lackluster Early Show, which reportedly will see Charlie Rose and Gayle King take over anchor duties at the network’s morning program, with what looks like a collective shrug.

“There’s nowhere to go but up,” said one CBS GM who asked not to be named. “Neither anchor excites me, but I believe that the leadership at Early Show and CBS News are the best in a long time, so I am cautiously optimistic.”

Multiple calls to the CBS affiliates board, including chairman Wayne Daugherty, were not returned at presstime.
The Rose-King partnership was first hinted at last month in the New York Post, and the New York Times had a bigger story on it today. CBS hasn’t commented, but an official announcement is expected next Tuesday, with Rose and King joining Erica Hill and Jeff Glor, among others, on the show. “It will emphasize hard news and use a conversational approach like “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and “The View” on ABC,” wrote the Times of the two hour broadcast.

It was nearly a year ago that CBS announced that Chris Wragge and Hill were in on The Early Show, while Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and weather reporter Dave Price were out.

CBS affiliates speak well of the newish news leaders, including chairman Jeff Fager and news president David Rhodes, and the plan they’ve laid out for the news department. While they’d love to see improvement in Early Show numbers, the affiliates don’t seem like they expend a lot of hope on the show.

Local rivals of CBS affiliates say Early Show needs some serious help. “It’s going to take a long time to rebuild,” said one ABC GM, who had some harsh descriptors for the program. “It’s a tough environment for a No. 3 to move up.”

Another competitor to CBS said the Rose-King arrangement might just be offbeat enough to move the needle. “CBS at times has struggled to get much traction in the mornings, but maybe this just might work out for them,” said the midmarket GM. “But it’s hard to get people to change their habits in those dayparts. They go with what they know.”

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