Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Bob Saget and Bad TV


Bob Saget's death kicked off several thoughts dancing around in my head.

I was not a "Full House" fan.  I'm sure it was a fine show, and I was not in its target demographic.

Saget hosted a game show for NBC called "1 vs 100."  I thought it was fun and really good, and I'm sorry NBC gave up on it.  Bob Saget was a solid game show host, better than most of the current crop.

His stand up routines were raunchy and outrageously funny.

However, and you knew a "however" was coming...

I cannot think of Bob Saget without remembering "The Morning Program."

Let's take you back to 1987.  CBS was tired of its morning news disasters.  Formats changed.  Anchors changed.  Viewers stayed away.  Although, CBS was always the newsiest of the morning broadcasts and I always watched.  CBS management took the time period away from the news division and gave it to the entertainment division.  "CBS Morning News" was cut back to a half hour at 7 am.  At 7:30, the CBS entertainment division gifted us with "The Morning Program."  It starred Mariette Hartley, Rolland Smith, Mark McEwen, and Bob Saget.  It was awful.  It was beyond awful, and it might be my most hated television show-- ever, even worse than "The Office."  Unwatchable.  How do I describe "The Morning Program?"  It was one of those happy, cheery, sappy, smarmy, unctuous, fawning, fulsome "news you can use" shows, filled with cooking, celebrity news, celebrity interviews, a live audience, witless banter,  alleged comedy, and a bunch of time wasters.  I remember the first broadcast.  Mariette Hartley toured the set and was so thrilled it had an actual working kitchen!  Yay!  That will attract the viewers!  They had a kitchen!

Like everything else CBS did in the morning, "The Morning Program" failed to gain traction.   It bombed.  Big time.   Management put it out of its misery after several months, and returned the time period to the news division.  It gave us "CBS This Morning" with Harry Smith and Kathleen Sullivan, a recruit from ABC News.  While "CBS This Morning" wasn't great, and it looked like the set came from KMart, it sure was better than "The Morning Program."  Anything would have been better.  I've always been a Harry Smith fan.

My sympathy to Bob Saget's family, friends, and fans.  "The Morning Program" is a minor stain on an impressive career.