The CBS ‘Early Show’ Strategy For Being The Anti-‘Today’? Focus on Politics

By Alex Weprin Comment

CBS’ “The Early Show” has been stuck in third place behind NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” for years. Now, as National Journal reports, the program is trying a new strategy to become the anti-network morning show: focus on politics.

“I don’t feel that I have to do the same stories at the same time as the other morning shows. That is what we are trying not to be. We are trying not to compete story to story, segment to segment, minute to minute in the show. There is no gain there,” said Batt Humphreys, Early Show interim executive producer. “We tried to do that for 30-something years and it hasn’t worked very well…. I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe that model is just not working.”

“I just don’t feel that you necessarily have to be constrained or bound by a female demographic that starts swinging at eight o’clock,” Humphreys said. “Nor by that demographic, do you have to program for what you perceive that they want, because in all honesty, I know a lot of women, I’ve talked to women … and its not all about fashion, food, and feeding your babies. I think women are capable of handling content after 8 o’clock in the morning.”

In other words, “Today” and “GMA” have the formula down cold, so CBS needs to try an find a different audience.

The article comes with a small caveat: as we have reported, CBS News and National Journal are partnering on 2012 election coverage, so NJ has a stake in it. As the “Early Show” focuses on politics, viewers can expect to see more NJ staffers on its air.