So much for the Sun-Sentinel television show SFL Live, which was once billed by Tribune execs as a revolution in programming. Now it's called The Morning Show, a groundbreaking name if ever there was one.
This morning they ditched the old set; the hosts are now sitting safely behind a desk. In a memo sent out this morning by Sun-Sentinel Publisher Howard Greenberg (which can be read in its entirety after the jump), Interim News Director Jen Dahl is quoted as saying, "Building on our solid foundation, we wanted to refine the show to further reflect South Florida and meet the needs of our primary target demographic of women 25-54."
Wow, that sure does sound exciting. This comes just six months into what Tribune Co. seemed to believe was going to be a huge, even revolutionary, success. As for me, I still haven't gotten over the abrupt loss of Amber.
It was just on May 5 (doesn't it seem like a lifetime ago?) that I published Tribune Co. "Chief Innovation Officer" Lee Abrams "think piece" about the show. Here's some of what he wrote at the time (it jumps):
Very blown away by the morning show! Not only the show, but the spirit and attitude of EVERYONE involved. If we can get 10 percent of this level of afdi, energy and willingness to reinvent at our other stations, we'll truly revolutionize TV. ... The other stations look disconnected, TOO professional and slick and "nationalized" in comparison, and I think this show is on track to hit its psychographic head on. Watched the competition and it was hilariously dated--Stiff, evil looking Ivory Tower news people wearing 1987 Reagan erasuits, taking "news speak" with blue and silver everywhere. As organic and real as a chunk of linoleum. The CONTENT was generally fine, but undermined by a dated-playbook presentation. They know their place on the intellectual/culture scale---and nail it well.
One BIG challenge is going to be to get the other 20 hours of sfl to match the magic of the morning show. 24/7/365
There's of course a lot for them to do but I can tell we have the makings of a winner that can be influential at our other stations. This show is SO south Florida, you can't simply recreate it, but it CAN serve as a model of breaking away, blowing up the playbook, creating a wonderful internal vibe (more like a killer radio station in 1975 than a TV station), and afdi.
I'm impressed and excited about where this can go. In a year...look out!
There are so many things they're doing right--the breezy way they refer to YouTube and facebook (vs "tech minute") to the set (love the retro photos and the painting of the city instead of a fake backdrop). A work in progress of course, and not perfect, but they got the mojo going. Now, just gotta make sure this sprit happens 24/7....and the whole station sings with new image innovation!
ZERO TV baggage...and it shows. Traditionalists will laugh...kinda like the old farts at BMG laughed at the audacity of "digital music".
Damn, if only the morning show were half as zany as Abrams himself, it might actually get a little attention. Here's the Greenberg memo:
Wednesday October 28, 2009
TO: Sun Sentinel & SFL-TV Employees
FROM: Howard Greenberg
RE: The Morning Show Makeover
Today our new morning newscast relaunched with a new name, a new look and whole new feel!
"Building on our solid foundation, we wanted to refine the show to further reflect South Florida and meet the needs of our primary target demographic of women 25-54," said Interim News Director Jen Dahl.
The goal of The Morning Show is to be the eyes and ears of South Florida, serving up morning news with more "OOMPH" than our local competitors. From local newsmakers and experts to celebrities and entertainers, from tips on home projects and cooking demonstrations to the best places to take your family this weekend, you will see it all on The Morning Show.
It's about providing quality content that informs and entertains viewers, helps our audience make good decisions, and brings South Florida an experience they won't find on any other local morning news program.
So tune in weekdays from 5-9 a.m. on SFL, Channel 39/Comcast 11 and check out The Morning Show!