CBS This Morning: A great eye-opener

Some TV viewing counts as doing real stuff, and a great example is watching the 2-hour broadcast of CBS This Morning on Monday through Friday from 7 am – 9 am.  Check your local listing.  I start every day with this broadcast and I’m a better person for it.

The news is back …

Norah O’Donnell, Charlie Rose, Gayle King (photo:

The program’s regular hosts are Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, and Charlie Rose – all of whom are excellent anchors of this beautifully produced news magazine.  The slogan for CBS This Morning is “The News Is Back, “ and I presume that implies that the news may have slipped away on the former CBS morning news program.  But it’s back – that’s for sure.

GreenRockYour world in 90 seconds …

Each program begins with the signature video montage called “this morning’s eyeopener:  Your World in 90 Seconds” (which sounds way cooler when Charlie Rose says it).  This is followed by a 20 minute overview of the big headlines of the day and a couple more in-depth pieces.  The last 10 minutes of each half hour is given over to local news, weather, and traffic.

This pattern continues as CBS This Morning continues to roll out headline news and a few special segments.  Generally there will be a few live interviews with experts or celebrities, all of whom wait their turn in the adjacent and very visible Toyota Green Room.  In the second hour the tone shifts a bit and after a review of headlines the focus goes to lighter features and often entertainment news.

Make it part of your morning routine.

CBS This Morning, like most morning newscasts, is the kind of program that doesn’t require  your full attention for the entire two hours.  They know that many of their viewers are getting ready for the day and are perhaps dashing out the door — so they front-load the important news content in the first 20 minutes (commercial-free for that period, by the way).  I’m fortunate to be able to watch the whole program daily if I choose, and I usually try to settle in and eat breakfast during the first 20 minutes.  A check of the website provides a daily preview of the major stories that will be covered as well as clips from previous episodes.  If you live west of the eastern time zone, you can check out the Eyeopener online before it’s broadcast live in your zone by opening “The Rundown” tab at the CTM website.

They’ve produced a daily broadcast that is informative, slickly produced, and yet warm and inviting.  The pace is brisk as they move efficiently though a great deal of content each morning, but they manage to retain a relaxed, convivial tone on the set absent any of that over-caffeinated hysteria that is so typical of most morning news programs (hello, Good Morning America).  The set is especially nice — it looks a little like a gussied-up warehouse — exposed brick, hardwood floors, subdued lighting — quite the contrast to the whiz-bang high-tech studios that are the norm in TV news.  And thank goodness they haven’t adopted the horrible window onto the sidewalk with the tourists jumping about outside;  at the Tiffany Network it’s (almost) all about the content.

The reporting is first rate, and in addition to the fine anchors and in-house production staff, CBS This Morning has the benefit of the entire stable of CBS reporters around the world.  And there are a few laughs — you get the sense that they take their work, but not themselves, very seriously.

Comments welcome.