The Futility of Reviewing Debuts…

This morning CNN launched its new morning lineup of two new confusingly named shows. As always in the internet age, the pressure is on to deliver that instant rapid reaction review. I’m now going to lay out the case why everyone should wait, particularly in the case of Soledad O’Brien’s Starting Point.

1. It’s the start of the 2012 GOP primary season. Starting Point is on the road and the lineup is overloaded with politicians, political pundits, and CNN’s political team. If you think this will be the regular format for Starting Point, you are mistaken. Remember what O’Brien said when CNN officially announced the change?

“I couldn’t be more eager to return to daily news, to bring conversation and context to CNN viewers in the morning. I welcome the opportunity to give voice to people who aren’t often heard, and stories that are sometimes overlooked,” says O’Brien. “I love telling people’s stories, and I’m looking forward to bringing the perspective, heart and storytelling that have worked well in our documentaries to a morning audience”

We aren’t going to get much, if any, of that this primary week. So why review the show when the show isn’t being the show?

2. This will last all week thanks to New Hampshire Primary following on the heels of the Iowa Caucuses.

3. The show is on the road. We haven’t seen what CNN is going to do with the show in its natural environment of the studio.

4. By contrast, Early Start with Banfield and Sambolin stayed in the studio for its launch. However its format was also heavily skewed by primary week.

5. It’s debut week. All networks try to launch by front loading their shows with as much juice as possible. But they can never sustain that juice. Eventually things will be dialed back as adjustments are made. This is why it’s futile to review a news show the day it launches because the show itself very likely won’t look like this in a few weeks time.

So I’m going to wait until things return to normal before I take a long look at either show on ICN. Maybe in a couple of weeks, depending on whether the shows settle down sooner.

8 Responses to “The Futility of Reviewing Debuts…”

  1. harry1420 Says:

    in the end it will fail. folks want to be entertained in the morning not informed. really sad

  2. A morning programme can be both entertaining and informative at the same time – CBS Sunday Morning might be a good example. We’ll have to wait few weeks to see how this set-up on CNN goes, and Spud’s abso-freakin-lutely right about Iowa and NH mucking-up any worthwhile judgements.

  3. I can live with waiting for a large review of the new CNN shows but A. Banfield called Kerry Kennedy “sweetie pie” this morning at the end of her interview. Really? I have no idea if they are friends or not, but, if even if they are, that was awful!

  4. “The start’s the thing, the song to sing.” : POGO

  5. Zoraida Sambolin seems like a good pickup by CNN, as does Ashleigh Banfield.

    I’m not so sure Soledad O’Brien should be back on mornings, though, especially as the solo anchor of a show (even if it is an ensemble show like MoJo).

  6. I think Early Start might do well, Starting Point could … if don’t make it too (most in news in the morning ) or make it too (fluffy) and not much disscution (that’s why I don’t watch morning joe) it can work.

  7. “…and our starting point this morning is starting Starting Point, I guess…”

    The names are, *sigh*, it does suit the point that neither feels like traditional morning programming, but like Spud said, they don’t work together, and with the graphics package they are using, you can’t tell them apart. One looks like the other, and the looks combined are absolutely non-descript. White and blue, font, and a transparent box, and some sliding motion. Okay?

    Outside of the lackluster look, I wonder how they’ll keep up the “we’re going to call random people” bit, and is it just me or was Banfield a little hyper on this first morning?

  8. I missed both CNN shows on Monday, 1/2, but tuned in on the 3rd. I could take only a few minutes of each before getting very uncomfortable–almost embarrassed–over the lack of polish and professionalism. Had to turn them off. Is this the best CNN can do in the morning?

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