CBS, The Early Show and a Solution

CBS' Chris Wragge

With The Early Show anchor Chris Wragge returning to an anchor perch at New York’s WCBS while continuing, for now, to anchor the network’s third-place morning show, the handwriting is on the wall. As has been rumored for months, CBS is likely planning yet another incarnation of its morning show, which has finished a distant third to Today and Good Morning America for years.

It was only last December when CBS blew up the anchor team of Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Price and replaced them with Wragge, Erica Hill and Marysol Castro, virtual unknowns on the national stage. Industry analysts wondered about the decision back then and their doubts are in full focus today.

The new trio never had a chance. Neither did the old trio. Neither did the likes of Jane Clayson, Rene Syler, Hannah Storm and Julie Chen. CBS has tried time and again to duplicate Today and GMA. They’re not going to win in the morning using that formula and they know it. Not now. Not in the next decade. Sure, The Early Show has maintained a harder edge lately with more of a focus on politics, but it hasn’t made much of a difference. Third place is third place, and that means less than half the viewers Today brings in. That’s the bottom line.

If (when) CBS blows up its current Chris Wragge-led morning team, it needs to be bold. It needs to be daring. It needs to be different. I felt the same way about CBS Evening News when Katie Couric left. Scott Pelley, while certainly a great journalist, isn’t the answer on the anchor desk. There have been rumors about MSNBC’s Morning Joe program eventually migrating to CBS, which would be a coup for the network. That’s the kind of move CBS needs to make, one that would would set it apart.

In the meantime, the current morning crew twists in the wind, wondering what’s next. Really, all they need to do is look to The Early Show’s not-to-distant past to figure it out.

Chris Wragge talks about his move back to WCBS
CBS press release announcing Wragge’s move
> Morning show ratings for last week


  1. Mary Kay Larsen says:

    We really enjoy the Early Morning Show but just wish Erica would not talk over Chris and their guests. This morning in the segment of the most influencial women we could not get the 1st lady’s name because Erica was talking while their guest was telling about her. We really enjoy Chris’s sense of humor. He is actually funny and adds a lot to the program. Just tell Erica to think before she opens her mouth when someone else is talking.

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