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Monday, February 25, 2013

Departures

There are a couple of departures in the TV field I need to yak about...

87 year old Joe Garagiola announced his retirement last week.  He'd been a part time commentator on Arizona Diamondbacks games in recent years.

Garagiola did baseball on NBC for 30 years.  He was also host of the syndicated "To Tell the Truth" and a "Today" show contributor.

Was he one of the greats?  I'm not sure.  Garagiola gets points for longevity, but here's what puts him over the top:  people liked Joe Garagiola.  He didn't speak perfect english.  He wasn't a baseball genius.  When NBC had yet another "Today" debacle, in the form of a Bryant Gumbel nasty internal memo that went public, and the Pauley/Norville ham handed switch, they put Garagiola on the New York set to add a friendly, human element to the broadcast.  It worked nicely, and "Today" recovered.

And, Soledad O'Brien is leaving CNN to form her own production company.  The handwriting is on the wall.  There's a lot of speculation that CNN will build a new morning broadcast around Chris Cuomo and Erin Burnett. 

I've read great reviews of O'Brien's work, and she really wasn't bad.  You can't overlook the fact that no matter where CNN put her, she failed to draw an audience.  Linda Ellerbee once said "It's a shame that the quality of your work is judged by the ability to draw a crowd."

There's a huge need for a really newsy early morning news broadcast on cable and the broadcast networks.  CBS comes close.  MSNBC's morning Joe can be entertaining and informative.  I wonder if CNN will get it right this time.