Friday, October 14, 2011
REVIEW: Global's The Morning Show
Still, what the hell.
Global has made a big deal out of their launch this week of The Morning Show. They had a full colour wrap-a-round ad cover my copy of the Toronto Star Monday and their PR department sent me a nice box of cereal and an orange. The cereal ("an excellent source of 4 great hosts") turned out to be Fruit Loops, which seems about right.
The sleepyhead hosts looked like they could have used a few bowls full of sugar Thursday morning, which was the broadcast I sampled. The series airs from 6 a.m.to 9 a.m. every weekday morning, forcing Lisa Fromer, Daru Dhillon, Dave Gerry and Kris Reyes out of bed at some un-Godly hour.
Three hours is a long time for four people to be sitting around gabbing about broken BlackBerrys and other newspaper headlines. The primary coloured set looks like it was salvaged from a Goldhawk Fights Back! garage sale. There's an odd sense that it is the middle of the night. A wall of windows facing out onto Bloor Street seems dark even at 8:57 a.m.
Nothing says freshness or morning; the women all seem to still be in their cocktail attire from the bar they were in the night before.
I like Dave Gerry because he speaks to coots like me. Gerry yakked about Ed Sullivan, The Beatles, and other boomer touchstones (Thursday was the anniversary of Sullivan's passing in 1974). He seems into it, at home, comfortable, doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. Basically a guy you could handle at breakfast.
You can forgive a lot of the technical stuff because it is early days. Everybody sits way too far away from each other. There's too much talking to each other and not enough to viewers. Newspapers and other things held up to the camera are not getting picked up. The set is too damn dark. There's a stiff, Sun News staginess to the news desk bits. The guy with the hand held camera--stop lurking from the wings, shifting back and forth, you're giving everything a creepy, slasher film vibe.
Less forgivable is the intent. Morning shows should service viewers as well as entertain. There's a reason City's Breakfast Television--dominant in this greater Toronto daypart for decades--spends so much time giving you weather, traffic and other commuter updates. They give you a reason to watch.
Less helpful is four people sitting around talking over each other about stuff in the paper.
Also, it just seems so done better before. Go nuts, jazz it up, add some irony. Goof on morning shows. Always ask: WWLD (What Would Letterman Do)?
Fromer was a popular part of BT's on-air team for several years but seems a tad rusty on The Morning Show. The apparent lack of concept or direction leaves her to try and Matt Lauer her way through a whole lot of air time. She's going to need many more snaps if she's going to be left to call all these audibles.
Not helping is the camera direction. Too many two shots, with one person sitting idle while the other yaks or looks down at a table full of clippings.
The show works a bit better when there's a guest. ET Canada's Cheryl Hickey came on towards the end Thursday and brought focus to her segment just by being there.
Guests or no guests, there are too many people on set. Reyes could have slept in another hour. It is awkward when she tries to sit back down at the table after a news desk update, almost as if it is her turn at Monopoly.
I guess the folks in charge want all hands on deck and hold The View as some sort of model, but you need big personalities and guests--and budgets--to pull that off.
The Morning Show isn't there yet, but at least Global is trying to live up to the conditions of their licence. As Ferguson suggests, best to check back in three months.