Who Do You Wake Up With?

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

When it comes to national morning news programs, is there anyone left who does it right?

I wake up every morning at 7:30 to get my daughter ready for the bus.  In the background, I put the TV on like millions of other Americans and go about my breakfast and household routines.  I don't know how many are like me, but do you find yourself constantly turning the channel?  Not because of commercials, but because of the constant garbage these shows throw at you.  My rankings in a minute, but first-- The Breakdown.


I wake up and want to know what's going on in the world, which coincidentally is pretty much the slogan for CNN's "American Morning."   I like some sports, local weather, Wall Street stuff-- if it's big and what's going on in the presidential race/politics.  being a former morning anchor, I also like people like me who keep things loose.


"Today" on NBC - RATINGS... at last check number one of the networks with about 6 million viewers.

Being an NBC guy, I've always watched "Today" and like Matt Lauer, but I cannot tell you how much that show has fallen out of favor with me.  Once that clock hits 7:30 they absolutely turn their backs on actual hard news.  Outside of Anne Curry's headlines, it's baking, money, health, beauty, travel, and security tips.  And seriously-- HOW MUCH OF THESE POLYGAMIST RANCH PEOPLE CAN YOU SHOW?  There was abuse and it was a cult and the kids got married young-- they're kooks-- I GET IT!  "Today" did the same thing with the 911 Widows-- the same interview over and over and over again.  I still tune in to see the WILX cut-ins and Darrin's weather and that's about it.  It's too bad, b/c Lauer is one of those journalists I look up to.  He's a great interviewer, funny, and incorporates the entire crew into the show seamlessly.  Meredeth Viera has taken over for Katie alright, but she's locked to that teleprompter which bothers me to no end.  Almost as much, is Anne Curry's inability to get through 5 news stories without stumbling.  I seriously wonder if she reads any of it before going on air. 

"Good Morning America" on ABC - RATINGS... #2 closing in on 5 million viewers.

I keep giving GMA a chance b/c I don't know Chris Cuomo enough to make a judgment and I've always like Robin Roberts going back to her ESPN days.  But Dianne Sawyer bugs me and it's too serious for the lack of news of the day they're giving me.

"The Early Show" on CBS - RATINGS... #3 and a sinking ship at 2.6 million viewers.

I can't even tell you who the hosts are anymore.  Knowing the main anchor (Julie Chen) is married to the head of the network and also the host of a reality show is all I need to go somewhere else.

"American Morning" on CNN - RATINGS... in 2007, it was around 369,000-- a distant second to FOX.

I like this show.  The slogan is right on the money-- it gives you the days news all around and they don't cook anything.  John Roberts is Mr. Serious, but Kieran Chetry offsets that with a lot of energy.  They have good contributors and cover everything I like.  Truthfully, I like the old anchors too (Miles & Soledad O'Brien) and loved it when Jack Cafferty was part of the show.

"Morning Express with Robin Meade" on CNN's Headline News - RATINGS... no idea, but they can't be more than 100,000.

It's the one show that gets you up to speed on the days news the fastest.  In fact, it bills itself as the fastest moving morning news, which backfires often.  Robin is great at making jokes and having fun with the sports and weather guys, but the immediate transitions back to a tornado or shooting are pretty rough.  It doesn't hurt that Robin is easily the best looking morning anchor either.

"Morning Joe" on MSNBC - RATINGS... somewhere around 300,000, but rising.

This show is brand new since the departure of Don Imus, thank god, and b/c of that it took me until recently to get into it.  It's actually this show that inspired this blog post.  Number one, because Joe Scarborough is the best personality on morning TV.  And with Lauer, Sawyer and Roberts that's saying something.  This show is fun to watch.  I'm into the political race which gives it a huge edge right now, so when it's all over it will be interesting to see how it reacts.  The contributors are stellar with Tim Russert, Andrea Mitchell and the other NBC heavyweights, Erin Burnett from CNBC, and the guests are top notch.  Mika Brzezinski is the most under-rated morning show host.  She's phenomenal in everything she covers.  The one drawback-- and it's a big one-- they don't cover the hard news of the day to my satisfaction.

"Fox & Friends" on FNC - RATINGS... #1 on cable with about 762,000 viewers as of last year.

I can sum up this show in one sentence: Too much opinion.  The trio of hosts just run off at the mouth until I'm spitting out my Honey Bunches of Oats and screaming "Shut up already!"  Coming from me, that's a statement.  Their coverage isn't way right like many think-- at least from what I can tell, but other than Brian Kilmeade, I just can't stand the other two.


Here's how I rank them:

1. "Morning Joe"

2. "American Morning"

3. "Morning Express w/ Robin Meade"

4. "Today"

5. "GMA"

6. "Fox & Friends"

7. "The Early Show"

What do you think?  Give me your rankings and reasons and maybe I'll change the channel.

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  • by ksway Location: sitting across from you on May 12, 2008 at 03:24 PM
    I agree with your take on "Today"... by the time I get into work, it's all fluff in that show, like 20 minutes worth of Jenna Bush's wedding pictures. My favorite is "Morning Express with Robin Meade". I love how she talks to the viewers, i.e. "hope you're not running late today" (which I usually am), and I love her reactions to stories (she actually shivered when delivering the news about the man in Austria holding his daughter hostage for years). I agree with you about the hard transitions she has to make, but nonetheless, her bubbly attitude and good looks are all I need to get going in the morning.
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