CBS' Early Show may still be in third place in the broadcast morning-news race, but CBS News president Andrew Heyward is crowing about the program's progress since CBS revamped the historically struggling show almost two years ago.
"As far as we are from Today, we are closer than we've been in a very long time," Heyward said Monday during a session with TV critics at the Television Critics Association gathering in Los Angeles. "Our goal is to continue to grow and that is ambitious." The Early Show has made gains in total viewers and the key 25-54 demo.
Early Show anchor Harry Smith, who shares duties with co-hosts Hannah Storm, Julie Chen and Renee Syler, illustrated another measure of success: nabbing interviews with stars and newsmakers.
Two years ago, Smith said, he had to go on a press junket to interview Tom Hanks. More recently, Hanks came to the Early Show set for an interview. "Once we've established ourselves, they say next time they'll come to the studio," Smith said.
Heyward also emphasized there is no timetable for CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather's departure from the anchor desk. "Dan has had a phenomenal year," Heyward said, pointing to Rather's recent interview with former President Bill Clinton and reporting on the Iraqi prison scandal.