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January 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

CBS, which has never been a major competitor in the early-morning hours dominated by NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America is trying again. On Monday it raised its old banner CBS This Morning over what appeared to be two distinct talk shows — one at 7:00 a.m. featuring veteran PBS interviewer Charlie Rose that focuses on hard news and another at 8:00 a.m. featuring Oprah BFF Gale King focusing on pop culture. Remaining with the show(s) from the previous incarnation was Erica Hill. Critics gave it a mixed reception. The two hours, said James Poniewozik of Time magazine were “almost literally night and day.” King he noted, had “a brighter demeanor,” whereas when Rose appears, “it feels like the light must automatically dim 25 percent.” Most critics said that they would reserve final judgment until the show matured a bit, and Hank Steuver in the Washington Post suggested that it “could do with a great deal more looseness and departure from format — the freedom to be in last place and to do a show with calm confidence and even some sense of surprise.” But Mark A. Perigard in the Boston Herald seemed to feel that it showed “much progress” over its predecessors but noted that it resorted to airing excerpts of a feature that ran on 60 Minutes a day earlier. “If CBS This Morning is going to be a player in the daytime TV wars,” he wrote, “it has to get ahead of the news, not follow it.” On the other hand, Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker remarked that the show “made a lively debut” and pointed out the “in morning TV, energy counts as much as ideas do.” David Wiegand in the San Francisco Chronicle commented that the new show “pretty much works.” He added: “Bottom line: CBS is moving in the right direction.” And Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times suggested that the show has demonstrated that it has two strong new hosts. “With stars like that,” she concluded, “CBS morning news really should focus on the news. And that may yet happen when the show stops clearing its throat and finds its voice.”