“Early Today,” which airs before the early morning news on NBC affiliates, is celebrating 8 years and more than 2,000 shows today. Nine staffers, including EP Andy Jones, have been with the show the entire time — a lifetime in TV news, especially working the overnight/early morning hours. This morning, anchor Veronica De La Cruz gave a shout out to the original staffers. “Early Today” has been in its present form since 2004, originating from MSNBC studios, first in Secaucus, NJ and since 2007, at 30 Rock. From 1999-2004 the show originated from CNBC headquarters and before that it was known as “NBC News at Sunrise” and anchored by Ann Curry. Past anchors of “Early Today” include Natalie Morales, Amy Robach, Contessa Brewer, Kristine Johnson, Dan Kloeffler and Christina Brown.
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CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves — sans wife Julie Chen who is fully ensconced in L.A. for her ensemble daytime show, “The Talk” — celebrated with his CBS minions, and the press who cover them, at CBS’ Black Rock headquarters last night.
Several stars of CBS primetime shows were there, including Tom Selleck who stars in “Blue Bloods,” and Christine Baranski and Matt Czuchry of “The Good Wife.” And while Moonves can tout having the most-watched TV network, the stars of his struggling news division also worked the room — including the new front four of “The Early Show:” Erica Hill, Chris Wragge, Jeff Glor and Marysol Castro. The team will be hitting the road next week, making stops at several CBS affiliates where the #3-in-the-ratings show performs relatively well. (Our sister blog TVSpy reports Wragge’s last day on WCBS is today.)
We talked with show EP David Friedman and CBS News & Sports President Sean McManus who both expressed their confidence in the team. “It’ll take some time,” said McManus, “but this is a good group. I’m excited.”
“CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric was honored last night by the Bowery Mission at their Annual Valentine’s Gala. The mission provides shelter, food, clothing and medical care to homeless and needy New Yorkers. Around Thanksgiving, Couric spoke about their work, and she and her daughters are frequent volunteers. WCBS-TV’s Kristine Johnson and Chris Wragge emceed, Tony Bennett performed and Mayor Mike Bloomberg spoke.
“The View” co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Barabara Walters celebrate Behar’s new HLN show at the Plaza Hotel last night.
The famed Oak Room at New York’s Plaza Hotel was the setting for a party last night to celebrate the launch of HLN’s “The Joy Behar Show“, premiering Tuesday at 9pmET. The party, thrown by Behar’s “The View” co-host Barbara Walters, was packed with boldface names from news and entertainment and from all the networks.
In introducing Behar, Walters joked about her new show, “We originally thought it was going to go to Starr Jones. Then we were sure it was going to be Rosie [O'Donnell]. But finally, finally it is Joy.”
Behar thanked Walters and her “new boss” at HLN, CNN Worldwide EVP, Ken Jautz. “He found me. I was a poor little girl on a network show, trying to get a word in edgewise.”
Behar tells us she is a little nervous, but more excited about the new show. Her first guest, was Johnny Carson‘s last guest: Bette Midler.
Behar’s soon to be HLN colleagues were all there: Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell and A.J. Hammer. CNN anchors Larry King, Anderson Cooper, T.J. Holmes, and Ali Velshi. CNN correspondents Alina Cho, Jason Carroll, Suzanne Malveaux (up from D.C. for U.N. week), and Jeanne Moos.
Behar’s “The View” co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg were on hand. From CNN and CBS News Erica Hill, and her Saturday “Early Show” co-anchor Chris Wragge and his WCBS co-anchor, and former MSNBC anchor, Kristine Johnson
We’d just arrived when guest Suze Orman began telling us her concern that there’s something fishy about losing her once-commanding lead our GMA co-anchor off. “It’s physically impossible to gain that much,” said Orman of the lead now held by Ashleigh Banfield.
• More pictures after the jump and Monday on TVNewser, an interview with Behar and Jautz…
TVNewser attended one of the few holiday parties still on the calendar. Producers, anchors and executives from CBS News and CBS Radio, and those of us who cover them, packed the 35th floor of CBS’s Black Rock headquarters last night.
We talked with The Early Show’s Julie Chen as she arrived, before telling us, “Okay, I’ve gotta go say hi to my husband.” Her husband, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves was a few feet away chatting with CBS PR honcho Gil Schwartz.
The rest of The Early Show team was in attendance too — Maggie Rodriguez, Harry Smith and Dave Price and Saturday anchors Erica Hill and Chris Wragge. Hill told us she is excited about her new CBS gig, while still contributing to CNN’s AC360. Wragge’s WCBS anchors were also there — Kristine Johnson, formerly an MSNBC anchor and weather guy Lonnie Quinn.
Katie Couric arrived after the Evening News. “How are things in TVNewser-land?” she asked us. “Great,” we said. We congratulated her on her ratings last week. “Oh, I don’t pay attention to those things,” she said motioning to CBS News president Sean McManus and Moonves who were a few feet away. Couric said, “As long as they’re telling us we’re doing okay.”
Charles Osgood, Morley Safer, Steve Kroft, and Troy Roberts, worked the crowd. And 48 Hours EP Susan Zirinsky told us, despite the media gloom and doom, she’s actually hiring for upcoming prime time projects.
And along with the holiday cheer, there was a lot of layoff talk, including someone who covers the industry…