‘New Day’ Review: CNN’s New Morning Family Grills, Overdone

By Gail Shister Comment

The debut of CNN’s “New Day” this morning can be summed up with my favorite Oscar Wilde quote: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

As promised by senior executive producer Jim Murphy, the hyper-promoted 6-to-9amET broadcast – sorry, Soledad O’Brien — had tons o’ news and, at times, a “comfy and conversational tone,” but both were presented in wretched excess.

With gray-suited Chris Cuomo sandwiched between Christmas co-anchors Kate Bolduan (green dress) and Michaela Pereira (red dress), segments ran at a dizzying pace. That’s heavy voltage before breakfast.

Moreover, CNN dragged out practically its whole roster of correspondents for live talk backs. By my count, there were eight in the first eight packages alone. It was overkill, even for network boss Jeff Zucker.

The lead story was about a new CNN poll that showed Pres. Obama’s plummeting popularity. Cuomo chatted up John King. One story later, “New Day” went to that well again, this time with Dana Bash as Cuomo’s partner. Let’s hear it for moderation.

Lest we forget, HLN’s Nancy Grace popped up at about 8:20 to rant about two missing-child cases. She did not disappoint. In her usual high dudgeon, she acted like a “Saturday Night Live” parody of herself. I hope she never ups her meds.

As for the “comfy and conversational” aspect, that, too, was overdone. While Bolduan and Pereira gabbed like girlfriends around the glass table, the uber-intense Cuomo seemed uneasy and out of place. Face it, the guy can make a lost-kitten story sound like a mass murder.

In fact, Cuomo’s testosterone level is so off the charts that, with the exception of “Early Start” anchor John Berman at about 7:30, only female correspondents were brought on set — Christiane Amanpour, Christine Romans (showing plenty of leg), Pamela Browne, Michelle Turner. We’ll see how long Cuomo remains the only cock in the roost.

Random thought: I wish Cuomo would drop his annoying habit of referring to his interview subjects as “my friend.” He did it numerous times today, and on the very first story called John King “brother.” These unctuous addresses make Cuomo seem like a politician, which, given his bloodline, is understandable but nonetheless irritating.

Also as advertised, “New Day” had no cooking segments or celeb interviews. Instead, the real schmaltz spewed forth in the final block, with the principals suddenly seated together on a couch. (Where did that come from?)

With music in the background, warm-and-wiggly videos from the anchor troika’s weekend together were shown, featuring a barbeque in a tacky backyard (watch Chris grill perfect burgers!) and fishing expedition.

Then came heart-tugging video from each of Cuomo’s three kids wishing Dad good luck. His debut precluded him from taking his eldest child to her first overnight summer camp, he said numerous times. We also learned that his youngest child’s nickname is Cha Cha.

“Our biggest shared belief – yes, it’s all about family,” said Cuomo, 42, Papa Bear to Bolduan, at 29 the youngest morning anchor on a major network.

Will CNN’s newest “family” erase the network’s record of failure in the mornings? Zucker, and CNN, are banking on it, but judging by today’s launch, that may be a shaky investment.