TV executives are not always known for patience. But CBS Atlanta has been impressively patient with “Better Mornings.”
The early morning program for years generated very modest ratings after it debuted in 2007, at times pulling in less than one-tenth of the audience of what WSB was attracting from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
But over the past 18 months, the show – which is rigorously promoted on billboards and promotes itself as a looser, more fun-loving crew compared to many of its cohorts – has shown more signs of life. In fact, it has generated strong enough numbers to merit adding a weekend version for the first time.
The weekend shows will feature two hosts: reporter Jocelyn Connell and Paul Ossmann. It starts the weekend of Sept. 29 and 30.
Ossmann, who worked at WXIA-TV and WAGA-TV over 24 years, is currently serving as the weekend meteorologist for CBS Atlanta. He used to host “Good Day Atlanta” on WAGA-TV from 1992 to 1998.
The pair do not know each other well but Ossmann, who has worked at CBS Atlanta since January, said she’s “very bubbly, very friendly.” She has filled in for Tracye Hutchins, the host for the weekday “Better Mornings.”
For Ossmann, this is an opportunity to spread his wings. And his 2012 has certainly been more stable than his 2011, when he lost his job at WAGA, his home to foreclosure and his wife all in the same month.
Since his gig with WGCL is part time, he continues to work in real estate as well, he said. His bankruptcy filing in early 2011 has been cleared so he has been able to start over financially. His divorce is still pending. “It’s been a good year,” he said. “I like what I’ve been doing. I’m excited about this new venture.”
Starting this weekend, CBS Atlanta will air a one-hour version on Saturdays at 9 a.m. and a half-hour version on Sundays from 8:30 to 9 a.m. That could expand if it’s successful. CBS is replacing paid programming.
“We will offer a detailed look at the news of the day, along with a healthy dose of fun and audience engagement,” said Eric Ludgood, news director in a press release. The new hosts “will bring a special energy to weekend mornings. Jocelyn is already well-known to our morning audience and Paul is one of the most well-known talents in the market. The two share a wonderful sense of humor and curiosity. I’m looking forward to some interesting conversation.”
Year over year, “Better Mornings” weekday May numbers have doubled, though it still usually lags behind Fox 5 (WAGA-TV), Channel 2 Action News and 11 Alive (WXIA-TV).
“We really believe in this show,” said Kenny Lawrence, director of programing for CBS Atlanta. “I think the composite of the four personalities [Hutchins, Brandon Rudat, Jennifer Valdez, Justin Lock] is fantastic.”
As for the new show, Connell “is coming into her own. We think the world of her.” And Ossmann: “He brings nothing but positive to the role. He’s the epitome of a team player.”
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk