Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sunday Morning

Thank you, Roone Arledge.

Sunday mornings used to be a public affairs wasteland.  ABC used to have something called "Issues and Answers," a totally forgettable program.  When Arledge took over ABC News, he decided to change things.  David Brinkley was hired in the early 80's, "This Week" was born, and things started to move.

The increased competition caused NBC and CBS to up their games.  CBS had "Sunday Morning" in 1979.  Eventually, weekend editions of "Today" and "Good Morning America" were born. WNEP has been doing weekend morning news for around 20 years.  As someone who's been there for the last 13 and a half, thank you for watching.  Weekends are important.

Now that I've built the foundation...  ABC announced Tuesday that Christiane Amanpour will leave "This Week" to become ABC's global affairs correspondent, and she will also report for CNN.  Great move!

I thought Amanpour was okay on Sunday mornings, but Washington politics clearly isn't her thing.  ABC tried to make the broadcast more internationally focused, but after all these years, viewers are accustomed to a Washington centered broadcast.  It wasn't bad, but it really didn't work.  On top of that, we're headed in to a presidential election year.  Politics will be huge.

I smelled something wrong Saturday night.  Amanpour was MIA at the Republican presidential candidates' debate in Iowa.  Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos handled it.  You would think the anchor of your Sunday morning Washington broadcast would play a role.  It didn't happen.

In an admirable display of common sense, ABC announced "Good Morning America" anchor Stephanopoulos is headed back to "This Week."  He'll continue to anchor GMA, but only four days a week.  Stephanopoulos had TW for eight years, and he grew as a broadcaster during that time.  I thought he'd bomb on GMA, but I was wrong.  The ratings are up.  While Stephanopoulos seems uncomfortable with the fluff, the rest of the broadcast is strong.  I'm sure TW will be a better broadcast because of Stephanopoulos' GMA experience.

CBS announced on Sunday that "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer will go to an hour for 20 weeks beginning in April, and possibly even longer.  You can't help but like anything Bob Schieffer does.

Throughout all of this, one thing is abundantly clear-- competition makes everyone stronger.  See you this weekend.