Scott Pelley, Bob Schieffer and a whole host of venerable CBS correspondents turned up on the debut of the new “CBS This Morning,” which certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of morning shows, unless you (literally) count the awkward round-table set.
That left hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Erica Hill to distinguish the program, and in the premiere, anyway, they were competent at best.
Bottom line: If I was over at “Today” and “Good Morning America,” I wouldn’t exactly be quaking in my boots, especially given the glacial nature of change in daytime (and especially morning) television.
CBS has talked a lot about bringing its strong journalistic credentials to bear on the morning show, and all the taped pieces — including one recapping a Pelley “60 Minutes” piece and another on the Bowl Championship Series — were fine. It was the studio banter and chat, which will ultimately define the show for better or worse, where “This Morning” fell sort of flat.
Rose, for example, opened with what should be his signature: An interview with GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich. But it was all platitudes, very little substance, and very, very short. Rose isn’t exactly known for hardball questions, but at least a couple near the strike zone would have helped.
It’s also puzzling that all three hosts participated in the interview with a CBS star, Julianna Margulies, which felt like way too many cooks in the kitchen.
Other than that, it was a lot of stuff you could find on any other morning program. A tell-all book about the Obamas. Beyonce’s baby. Empty chit-chat with Melissa Etheridge, who had nothing to promote, so she just riffed on headlines with King and Hill. Local weather and traffic slipped in. King trying to be warm and engaging, having established her personal brand as “Oprah without the billions.”
As for the closing story — a sweet little profile of Dick Van Dyke — there was only one glaring omission: A reference to the age of his bride to be, who is obviously decades younger.
“I feel it’s like the first day of school, and I hope we all get good grades,” King said as they signed off.
How does a Gentleman’s “C” sound?