It didn’t take long for the glowing reviews to pour in when CBS debuted its stunningly revamped morning show CBS This Morning at 7:00 am EST on January 9, 2012. Remember that date, my friends, because I guarantee you it is a benchmark moment in broadcast television. Of all 3 legacy networks, CBS’s The Early Show was far behind its superstar competition: NBC’s consistently top-rated TODAY Show, and ABC’s impressive Good Morning America. I have been an avid TODAY Show viewer for the past few years now, and to prove it you simply have to take one look at the number of times I have written about the show (CLICK HERE to see). Ann Curry and Matt Lauer are phenomenally talented broadcast journalists, but even they must be shaking in their boots by what came out of CBS’s legendary Studio 57 in midtown Manhattan just a few short hours ago. Ladies and gentlemen, the race for top spot just got one hell of a powerhouse competitor, and I must admit I didn’t even have to finish watching the entire two hours to know I would be making the switch to Charlie Rose and CBS This Morning from now on.
Charlie Rose’s late night interview show on PBS is essential viewing for me, so I was curious how his moonlit energy would translate in the bright morning sun. Not only was I impressed, there were several moments within the first few minutes that I had goosebumps. As any of my friends can testify, Charlie’s voice and persona have the same effect on me as a purring kitten getting a love rub on that magic spot right behind its ear. The program’s brilliant new “Eye Opener” segment kicks off the show with its 90-second look at the world’s events. The music, the editing, Charlie’s voice, and Erica Hill’s amazingness. Be still my journalistic heart — it’s all to good to be true! The format of the show is so damn smart I have no doubt that TODAY Show and GMA execs must already be thinking of how they’re going to revamp their own shows. Lengthier than normal morning interviews are padded with roundtable discussions similar to The View, with Gayle King slipping in right at the perfect time later in the first hour. When Gayle’s presence opens up at 8am, the show takes a more psychological and cultural atmosphere. Entertainment Weekly immediately published a glowing review calling the show a “glass smooth transition”, and The Atlantic gave CBS This Morning and its new legendary anchor a ★★★★★ rating, saying:
“Charlie Rose is a great face to wake up to. The obvious observation about CBS’s new morning show adventure is the gravitas offered by it’s grey-haired anchor, Charlie Rose. While the network appears assertive about not naming the legendary celebrity interviewer as such — Hill and King seem to always be in the frame with him even though they’re not — Rose is most certainly the show’s star. And while the tone of the morning show is markedly different than Charlie Rose’s eponymous evening hour on PBS, he’s doing well adapting so far, and the balance between the co-hosts is terrific.”
The fourth star of the show is the brand new, multi-million dollar set which CBS realized soon on had to reflect their confidence in the show’s remarkable new format and its equally remarkable new future. As a Set Designer in the motion picture industry for the past ten years, I can tell you the first thing I freaked over is the show’s stunning glass table. As you will see in the video clip below, the table is very much a metaphor for the show itself: a physical manifestation of fusion, transparency, and strength. Another incredible hightlight of the art direction is something I didn’t notice until I watched the behind-the-scenes tour of the set — the very same map of the world made famous decades ago by the legendary CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite (you can watch a clip below). A beautiful connection to a network whose illustrious journalistic history is now embarking on a brilliant new future — one small step, and one giant leap at a time.