How to Beat 'Today' — Maybe

An interesting read in this morning’s New York Times: David Carr tackles the topic of CBS trying to beat the Today Show with its latest sweeping anchor changes…and what an insurmountable task it is.

So, he suggests doing things differently. Very differently.

If Mr. McManus wants to do something “dramatic,” why not throw a bomb in another part of the schedule? With ratings in steady decline, and no sign of weakness in the No. 1 and 2 players, why not change the format and build for the future?

A few ideas:

> Make a show for people who have not reproduced. Instead of trailing NBC running after the American housewife on the verge of her impossibly busy day, why not try a show for young people, with young people in charge, young people serving as talent, one that has preoccupations that go beyond family.

> Move around. Where is it written that the three morning shows aimed at Middle America all must emanate from the same 10 blocks around Times Square? Booking traditional guests might be a problem in Chicago, but “The Early Show” is not getting that worm as it is. And it never hurt Oprah.

> Take a lesson from failing sports teams: hoard your draft picks and plan for the future. Make something truly Webby. “ABC News Now” is a test project for a network that is trying on some digital and social media approaches to news, albeit with not many resources.

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