A week after its debut, I had the chance to catch the last half hour of the newly revamped morning show on CBS. The new morning show with its former name, CBS This Morning, promised that it would be the anti-Today Show and anti-Good Morning America, bringing hard news back to the morning. On CBS’s website, it boasts “The style, tone, and content of the morning program extends CBS News' commitment to original reporting and journalistic integrity.” As a news junkie, I was excited to see the show’s new format…until I actually turned on the TV. All three anchors — Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Erica Hill – were interviewing actor Simon Baker. It eerily looked more like an interrogation than an interview. And, oh, yes, the interview was oozing with journalistic integrity when the anchors asked Mr. Baker if he’s a surfer because he grew up in Australia or because he lived in California for 10 years. I was glued to the TV waiting for his answer. And, to top it off, Mr. Baker is on CBS’s show “The Mentalist.” Talk about promoting your own shows. I have nothing against Mr. Baker or CBS-TV. But, as a viewer, I was duped. CBS promised hard news and then didn’t deliver. The messages the network pushed out were very different from my disappointed experience.
At Peppercom, we always look through the lens of the end-user to determine if there is a gap between what an organization promises and what the audience experiences. And, there was certainly a gap with CBS…a large one that I fell through as I fell for CBS’s message. But, I decided to give it another shot. Maybe the Mentalist needed some additional publicity. Next up was a segment that ran the night before on another CBS show “60 Minutes.” Really? Is there no new news? The segment, for the next several minutes, discussed – and argued – how to say the name of the country Qatar. And, even when a citizen of Qatar told Mr. Simon that it’s pronounced “Cutter,” Mr. Simon said, “But my wife pronounces it Ka-tar.” Forget hard news. Does this even qualify for soft news? I didn’t know if I was more upset about CBS This Morning not delivering on its promise or watching “60 Minutes” melt before my eyes.
What networks and companies need to understand is that they can’t just promise that a show or product or service does something. They have to deliver on that promise. Audiences are not stupid. We don’t just sit there and accept what you tell us. We actually experience the show, the product or the service. Regarding “CBS This Morning,” all I know is what I didn’t experience… the news.