I woke up early Monday just in time to see some local TV history, according to Channel 7 anyway.
It was the premiere of Channel 7’s new morning program, “Good Morning.”
Truth be told, I DVRed the 6 a.m. hourlong show rather than get up early to see a premiere that was so heavily promoted during the Bills’ 44-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday that one of my Twitter followers made me laugh by writing he didn’t know who Cole and Tiffany were but he hates them already.
Ah, Twitter, which can be incredibly harsh and quick to judge.
Not me. I operate under the theory that first impressions of a new season or a new show can be misleading because they should be judged over time. In other words, it is a marathon, not a sprint.
After new “Good Morning” co-hosts Tiffany Lundberg and Cole Heath were introduced, viewers were told they were going to see “7 Things You Need to Know” this morning.
I expected some sort of countdown to seven, but the station didn’t enumerate the things we needed to know. I think they told us a lot more than seven things in the first 10 minutes, though I’m not sure we needed to know them all.
But in the spirit of Channel 7’s philosophy, here are seven things you might want to know about the passable premiere of “Good Morning,” which the ABC affiliate hopes will slowly make it more competitive with the early morning programs carried by Channel 2 and Channel 4.
1. The perky “Good Morning” jingle has the potential to be instantly way more annoying than Channel 2’s “This Is Home.” It seems like something out of the 1980s.
2. Lundberg appeared to be way more comfortable than Heath, who forced smiles, appeared to be much more nervous and stumbled over his words a few times. “It is time again for what we want to talk about and that is the Apple,” said Heath, referring to plans to introduce a new iPhone next month. Channel 7 gave viewers choices of two dates when it will be introduced. I assume Apple knows which date is accurate.
3. The new set, with a golden backdrop of Buffalo’s landmark buildings, looks really sharp and has brought Channel 7 into the 21st century. The fast pace of the show also was a big plus.
4. New traffic reporter Desiree Wiley looked much more comfortable with the high-tech, touch screen that helped show traffic patterns than she did talking about traffic. I assume that was first-day nerves. Besides, I’m guessing some viewers were more likely to talk about her red dress than what she said about traffic anyway.
5. I was somewhat surprised that “Good Morning” didn’t lead with what the majority of Western New Yorkers were talking about this morning – the Bills success Sunday – especially since the game was carried on Channel 7. I can be critical of stations when they lead with the Bills over important news. But “Good Morning” led with a story about Buffalo schools that mostly rehashed the issues that have been discussed for weeks as an advance of an important noon meeting Monday.
6. The morning’s most memorable image was Heath wearing a chicken wing hat presented to him by local wing king Drew Cerza. Heath showed he was a good sport because he looked ridiculous. Of course, that’s the point of wing hats. I would hope that Channel 7 would be smart enough to keep that image out of its promos.
7. The one light moment that worked came when meteorologist Mike Randall presented the 5-foot-tall Lundberg with a stepladder so she could see eye-to-eye with the 6-foot-5-inch Heath when needed.
With its fast pace, 21st-century look and expanded cast, Channel 7 took a small positive step Monday, but a successful climb to relevancy may take years.
Despite being played on a perfectly beautiful Sunday afternoon, despite their playoff drought and despite competing against one of the four major golf tournaments down the Thruway, the Bills’ game had a higher rating than any of the 2012 preseason games televised live.
The Bills game featuring the debuts of new coach Doug Marrone and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel had a 15.7 preliminary rating on Channel 7, up 10 percent from the highest-rated of the three preseason game in 2012 (14.4).
The rating was about three times higher than the 5.5 rating that Jason Dufner’s victory in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester received on Channel 4 for five hours Sunday afternoon. The PGA rating rose to the 7s and 8s after the Bills game ended at about 4:45 p.m.
The PGA championship rating did get a bump because it was played close to home and got a large amount of local media coverage. The 5.5 rating was still higher than the 5.1 it had a year ago when it didn’t compete against a Bills game.
To put the Bills rating in further perspective, it was about 30 percent higher than the highest-rated prime-time program in Buffalo during July – the CBS miniseries “Under the Dome.” Multiple episodes of “Dome” averaged a 12.0 rating when viewership seven days after episodes originally aired live was counted.