Rise and Shine

Siegel, Lee
November 2003
New Republic;11/10/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 19, p25
The author comments on the growing popularity of early morning news programs. At the moment, eleven million Americans roll out of bed and flip on the three networks combined. The rising numbers, or so the experts opine, are partly due to an increase in working hours, and partly to a more health-conscious population, which awakens earlier to make time for calisthenics. Nowadays it's the well-scrubbed, early rising, up-to-the-minute, endlessly knowing and smiling anchorpeople who preside over matins and lead you, if you so desire, through the crosses and contradictions you may meet in the course of the day, and out of the dangers and the perils of the night before. Of course the morning programs exist on several levels: they are news, they are information, they are (even when they are news and information) entertainment. On the deepest level, however, the network morning shows come as close as most popular culture does to replacing the spiritual devotions of yore. As the morning shows have surpassed the evening news in audience numbers and revenue, the anchor position on the morning news shows has become the most sought-after job in broadcast television, which also makes the turnover rate in that slot far more volatile than that of the evening news shows.


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