Accuracy in Media

In an interview in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King  predicts that the network will give the show two years before trying something different.

NYT: CBS’s morning shows have been in third place for nearly three decades now, and many people believe that a lack of chemistry among its anchors has been to blame. How did executives know if you and Charlie Rose would be compatible?

King: Well, I don’t think they did know. We had each already signed our deals before we even started rehearsals, and although we have mutual friends, I’m not going to lead you to believe that we were pals. I think they just thought, She brings this, he brings that and let’s give it a try.

NYT: When you started on “CBS This Morning” in January, the show was very committed to covering hard news, but lately I’ve noticed that you’ve been covering lighter stories, like one about the Tanning Mom.

King: don’t think you could ignore her, though. It’s just so outrageous. The original story started with this mother being accused of putting her daughter in a tanning booth, and then when you see the mother, it’s just sort of, “Whoa.” We’re not going to ignore legitimate news stories even though they may seem a little cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

NYT: But is Tanning Mom a legitimate news story?

King: For a day, yeah. Look at her! And it was a news story because she was charged with endangering her daughter. We haven’t done anything with the Hot Dog Lady, who’s a prostitute out of her hot-dog wagon. I’ve seen that story other places. There really is a standard at CBS with “Sunday Morning,” the “Evening News” and “60 Minutes.” That’s Walter Cronkite’s map over there on the wall.

Yes, she just argued that the “Tanning Mom” is news and the Hot Dog Lady prostitute isn’t because CBS has standards.

NYT: Are you concerned that “This Morning” hasn’t markedly improved upon the ratings of the morning show you replaced?

King: Are the numbers where we want them to be? Certainly not. But I’m encouraged by the reaction I’m getting from people. It took “Good Morning America” more than 10 years to really get in the game. I think CBS will give us a good two years, and if by then there’s no change, you have to think, Well, should we try something else?

Friday marked the 100th show since King and Rose were paired together, leaving them with about another 400, based on King’s remarks, for them to show some ratings improvement. Based on the network’s track record this doesn’t look too likely.

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