Saturday, February 04, 2012

CBS Morning Shows:

CBS This Morning- Look at them, they're happy! Psst, don't tell them they've a long road to hoe. The CBS morning shows have had problems for years. In the pic, there is Erica Hill, Gayle King and Charlie Rose. Why's Charlie so happy in that pic. He must be thinking about penny candy or something. Here's a "brief" rundown of some of the failures CBS unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Us!
CBS Morning News-Hughes Rudd and Sally Quinn- Rudd, was a man as scintillating as Contact Paper. Sally Quinn? She had no business being in front of the cameras at all.  Like most CBS Morning unions, this was brief, it lasted from August 1973 to April 1974. Oh gosh, Sally didn't even stay to see the flowers bloom. Shame on ya! Rudd was such a wiz at horticulture. Hughes Rudd on the other hand stayed until 1977. He co-anchored the broadcast with Bruce Morton. Exciting huh? I wish I stayed home from school to watch that!
CBS Morning News-Phyllis George and Bill Kurtis- A valiant effort. You know these two. Bill Kurtis is a "serious" newsman who has turned to the creepier side of news in recent years. Sitting to his right, Miss Phyllis George, an annoying "great ol' gal" who was a host on CBS's NFL Today. When they met, it was murder. Well not quite. Kurtis and George were the hosts in 1985. It was a perfect mic of  mediocrity and lowered expectations, but it took a turn toward the grim on one particular episode. George was interviewing a rapist and his victim and Phyllis asked them to hug. Kurtis didn't give a heck about her anyway and this pushed him past the point of no return. Do you remember that song, "Point of No Return" by Nu Shooz? I liked it.

CBS The Morning Program-Rolland Smith and Mariette Hartley- Here's something. This show replaced a still failing CBS This Morning outfit that was hosted by  Maria Shriver and Forest Whitaker Sawyer. I bet you didn't know they were the stewards of that hell bound fiery car of a show. For realz? Those were halcyon days compared to the disaster that was about to "jump off" like the kids say. In 1986 someone got the bright idea to put actress Mariette Hartley in the role as co-anchor with New York veteran Rolland Smith. Like many shows before and after it, this edition of CBS This Morning went after the fool's good of "a lighter side of the news." Great idea, really--and oh my God, is that Bob Saget? Yes, yes it is. Hartley left two weeks early to make some moving picture with Bruce Dern. Don't think Rolland Smith was left all by his lonesome though. Sandy Hill took over. Hill was perfect for it, she was used to tragedy since she co-hosted Good Morning America with David Hartman. Hartley returned for the last segment of the final broadcast. Rolland and Mark stashed Sandy in a broom closet and Hartley was there to close the show.

CBS This Morning- For me, this was as good as CBS morning television got. In 1988 the powers that be actually paired two likeable and knowledgeable people as their hosts, Harry Smith and the lovely Kathleen Sullivan. I'd be remiss in not mentioning that Hartley/Rolland Smith vet Mark McEwen was the only thing rescued from that fiasco. Sullivan, while very mercurial, gave this morning show a sense of irreverence and charm. As Smith stated during Sullivan's 1990 exit, she taught him a lot. In 1990 CBS apparently didn't renew her contract. It was a sad, sad day.

CBS Morning Show was basically unchanged except for the swap of Kathleen Sullivan for Paula Zahn. Zahn seemed to be "easier to deal with" and actually was familiar with replacing Sullivan on gigs she exited. Your friend Mark McEwen was in the mix with his Rock N' Roll Foolishness, talking about Cream or interviewing what was left of the Temptations. This trio lasted until 1996. That was the day Harry Smith went crazy/nuts in the control room and put folks in a sleeper hold. That's why Jake and the Fatman was seen at 7:45 that fateful morning. Zahn and Smith left at the same time, they joined hands and jumped off the cliff and into the same river. Mark McEwen stayed behind, scaredy cat!

CBS This Morning- This edition featured Mark McEwen in an expanded role, as well as Jane Robelot and Jose Diaz-Balart. It was like CBS wasn't even trying. If you thought competing with Today from 1984-96 was hard, it was a total loss by 1997 and a half. By 2002 McEwen was all that was left of that "dream team." The ratings continued to slide and between 16 years, there were 8 executive producers. Oddly enough Harry Smith returned to his old stomping grounds for a few years, from 2002-2010. No one knew. We all assumed Harry was gone and we broke off our turning dial on another station to stave off the pain. Harry was there! All the time....

An Educated Guess: CBS will be in 3rd place forever ever.
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