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The GEM Debate: TV Wars Or A Whimper?

If you watched even a tiny bit of television this weekend you know by now, there was about to be some sort of monumental shift on the airwaves. Or at least that’s what the people who run networks and write promos would have you believe.

Katie Couric is going back to mornings on GMA (for a short time), one-time vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is going to go anchor on Today (for an even shorter time) and Oprah talked about the long time struggles with her fledgling network. Yep, all in one week.


But there’s a tiny part of me that wonders if anyone really cares.

Yeah, yeah I know, spoken like a former network anchorwoman but hear me out. All of this feels a little tiny bit, um, contrived, for lack of a better term. Katie’s appearance I get; she has a talk show coming up in the fall. The Today show with Sarah Palin is a bit of counter programming because let’s face it; love her or hate her she makes good TV.



OWN is a whole different animal and one I outlined here. But they all share one thing in common, in my humble opinion; they are busy making buggy whips while the rest of the world has moved on to spaceships.

Look, anyone in TV knew this was coming. It’s insane to think that anyone is actually going to wait for a newscaster to come on to tell them the days’ events; anyone who thinks that is living in a dream world. Or 1987. Times have changed and in the land of Cable TV, the Internet and smart phones and it’s dumb and slightly antiquated to think that the audience hasn’t come to expect the convenience of information when they want it.

Proof of the direction the world is headed, is everywhere. Just today, it was reported that local, online advertising revenue will rise more than 20% this year. Why? Because that’s where the eyeballs are.

As a former broadcaster, I am watching with great interest, the way traditional television tackles this new medium and way of communicating. So far, minus a few bright spots like the upcoming Ricki Lake Show, they seem to be stuck in the old way of doing things. I’m convinced they’ll figure it out eventually. The question is, will it be too late?

Okay, show of hands.. how many of you watched Katie Couric’s return to morning TV? How many will watch Sarah Palin on The Today Show? How many can find OWN on their cable channel? When was the last time you learned of a major news event on TV, instead of online? Lemme hear ya!

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  1. Christopher Parish

    April 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I’m not as stupid as the morning show producers like to think we are. I have a DVR that records up to 4 programs at the same time. And guess what I recorded and watch today? Yep, Today, GMA and CBS This Morning. And I do believe that the majority of the viewing public knows how to program their DVR to do the same like I did. So, they’ll be surprised that no one took 1st place in my household today I watched them all. That’ll teach them! lol I thought Katie did a great job this morning. Yes, I will watch tomorrow Sarah Palin cohost the 8am hour of today. Just to see if she will still show her petty behavior by taking shots at Katie. The last time I learned of breaking news on tv, can’t remember.

  2. Deon Smith

    April 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Im so pleased you brought this to light. Over the weekend i expressed on my page how ABC was wasting time and revenue over COURIC anchoring for a single week (In all honesty Ill be bold and say if it were reversed ABC would never spend that on ROBERTS or any black anchor, let be real here.). GMA is apart of my morning routine and I winced this morning as the actual news took a back seat to the “temp” IN the seat. Its a horrible direction to where news is going just to increase ratings. At one point I had to turn off the TV. Having the domino effect of the other stations react was even more unfortunate if not laughable.

    I believe you nailed it but stating that the net is rapidly becoming a source of news and information. Its provided without all the exuberance and flashiness. Most forums gives us just that, THE NEWS. These networks really need have a wake up call and concede to their obligations without all the unecessary additives. Otherwise we may slowly see an agonizing demise of network news. Without the advertisers or the viewers none of them have a solid foundation to lead them in the next 50 years…..

  3. Mike_McGinley

    April 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I watch GMA religiously every morning. In the past, I was a Today and Early Show viewer, too. I like Katie’s down-to-earth personality and knew this morning would be a fun show, so I watched. I even set my alarm for 6am so that I had my normal morning routine done by the time 7am rolled around. In many ways, I still like the traditional morning show for it’s take on the day’s stories, even though I already know what they’ll be thanks to Twitter and other sources.

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More in The GEM Debate

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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