Thursday, March 22, 2007

What I Learned About Morning Television at the YMCA

I make an effort to go to the YMCA 3 or 4 times a week about ten weeks a year. Seriously, I go fairly often, but rarely in the morning. It is usually between 9 and 10 PM when my younger kids are in bed and the older ones are available to watch them. When I do go during the day it is usually after 9 or 10 AM because I have a hard time getting going earlier and I hate the pre-work crowd. This morning I found myself dressed for the gym at around 7:15 after dropping off my kids at school and a very busy day in front of me, so I decided to go ahead and get the Y behind me or I wouldn't likely be able to go at all.

These days I am focusing on the treadmills and as soon as I walked in I noticed that the long line of treadmills had many more bodies running, walking, and fainting on one side of the room over the other. I kind of felt left out, all that was left for me was the five empty treadmills at the end. I reminded myself that I should be happy I could get in at all and went straight to work. When I looked up at the TV screens I noticed that the channel nearest me was CBS (The Early Show), the channel after that was ABC (Good Morning America), CNN was next, and then finally, where the huge crowd was I found NBC. The ratings companies have said that the Today Show dominates the mornings, I began to think I had evidence of this on a very personal level. Almost everyone, even the poor soul next to me who looked like she was going to need to see a chiropractor from straining to watch NBC, was focused on Today.

I used my time to see what CBS and ABC had to offer. The first thing I noticed is that these shows are now virtual clones of Today. They have somewhat similar personalities, Harry Smith (photo above) from CBS seems to now be using Matt Lauer of Today's tailor. When the Today Show is outside with the crowd, so is CBS and ABC. When the Today Show team is on the couch, so are the the personalities at ABC and CBS. If I were one of the personalities on ABC or CBS, I would take it very personally. The only difference is that CBS puts a much stronger emphasis on local news than the others, other than that it looks like "NBC and the Wannabes."

Something I noted that was interesting is that Good Morning America is trying to incorporate Web 2.0 ideas into the show itself. They showed a video of some kid riding a skateboard inches from a police officer on a handrail. That police officer pushed the kid in the bushes near by because it wasn't safe for either one of them. The question, posed on the Web of course, was whether the response was appropriate. The hosts asked a guest to weigh in and they wanted the response of the audience to his comments. It was an interesting way to encourage audience interaction and it appears to be one that is used fairly often. It isn't, however, enough to make me stop watching Today.

I have said before, I don't really understand the attraction. I use to be a strong Good Morning America fan for years. Until I figure it out why I like Today, I'm going to either have to get to the Y early or make sure I go after the Today Show is over. With the continued expansion of the show through out the day starting in September, I might develop a huge weight problem.

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Anonymous whit miller said...

That's awesome, I will have to see what they watch at 24 Hour Fitness.

9:21 PM  

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