Eye hopes for boost from Central Park perf

NEW YORK — Mariah Carey will help inaugurate CBS’ new “The Early Show” on Nov. 1 with a live outdoor performance in Central Park, sources said Tuesday.

Carey is expected to perform from a stage across the street from CBS Studio 58, the new street-level venue where Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson will host the new morning show weekdays from 7 a.m.-9 a.m. Rapper Jay-Z will also perform.

In recent weeks, CBS News has been positioning the show’s premiere as a major media event. To celebrate the program’s upcoming launch, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves and CBS News president Andrew Heyward joined Gumbel, Clayson, and “Early” senior executive producer Steve Friedman at a press event Tuesday night at the Plaza. Guests were invited to tour CBS Studio 58 across the street.

The conventional wisdom is that any ratings growth for “The Early Show” will hurt ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Despite an upswing in ratings this year for “GMA” thanks to the teaming of Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer, the morning show is still coming in a distant second to Gumbel’s alma mater, NBC’s “Today,” which has dominated the ratings for five straight years.

ABC, however, is not quaking in its boots just yet. “We don’t think (‘The Early Show’) will have any impact on us,” said ABC News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy.

Word is that ABC does not have a backup plan in place for when Sawyer and Gibson eventually exit the program, but the two anchors are committed to “GMA” through May. “We’re not even thinking about (when they might leave). They’re here for the foreseeable future,” said Murphy.

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