'Monsters' mesh on CBS 2's new morning show

February 2, 2010

Terry Savage, Dan Jiggetts, <br />Mike Hegedus and Mike North

Terry Savage, Dan Jiggetts, Mike Hegedus and Mike North

There's not much to add to Phil Rosenthal's exhaustive deconstruction of "Monsters and Money in the Morning," which debuted Monday, or to Ed Sherman's Q&A with host Mike North. The four hosts of the new morning show on CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 --  North, Dan Jiggetts, Terry Savage and Mike Hegedus --  proved themselves to be sufficiently caffeinated and articulate to pull off the two-hour gabfest without committing any major gaffes.

Conceived as a low-budget alternative to traditional local morning news shows (airing from 5 to 7 a.m. weekdays), I'd call it a work in progress worth keeping an eye on.

The biggest surprise was the dominant role played by Jiggetts, who emerged first among equals as he occupied center screen, introduced each topic and steered every discussion. He may have been an offensive tackle for the Bears, but on this show, he's definitely the quarterback.

Susan Carlson, the show's perky news anchor, came off a tad too perky with lead-ins to her headlines such as: "Here's what's happening as you're starting to turn on your coffee maker this morning," and "As you're munchin' on your toast, here's what's going on . . ." (Whoa! Can she see me scratching myself, too?)

Viewers could also live without North's bombastic on-set commercials (the equivalent of his "live reads" on radio) and shameless pleas for a "cereal sponsor." But then again, "Money" is in the title of the show --  and isn't that what it's really all about?

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Maura Myles, the midday news anchor who's on maternity leave from Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890), was thrilled to learn Monday that she'll be shifting to oldies sister station WLS-FM (94.7) and teaming with new morning personality Dave Fogel when she returns March 1. She even had a few nice words for her bosses, operations director Michael LaCrosse and general manager Michael Damsky. Myles, who'll be serving up news, weather and traffic on Fogel's show, said:
"I sure loved him the first time around.‚  Now Fogie's back in Chicago -- right where he belongs -- on the legendary‚ WLS.‚ Talk about a perfect, yummy‚ combination, with Greg Brown and Dick Biondi, and‚ literally all the best music. I'm telling you, it's the most mouth-watering deep-dish in town!‚ And if I can provide a little sauce, I'm thrilled to stir that pot.‚ Chefs LaCrosse and Damsky‚ have cooked up something really delicious here, I think."
  • My favorite part of Tribune editor Gerould Kern's letter to readers Monday about the paper's upcoming shrinkage was at the end: "So, to recap," Kern wrote, "The Chicago Tribune's pages will become a little narrower starting Feb. 8. Text type will remain the same size as it is now. Some format changes will be necessary such as on the comics page. Most content largely will remain the same." I thought it was funny that he needed to "recap" the seven paragraphs that appeared above it. Who edits the editor?
  • Lissa Druss Christman has resigned as executive producer of Comcast SportsNet to join Culloton Strategies as chief creative officer. She previously was a sports producer at Channel 2. The new Chicago-based public relations firm was founded by Dennis Culloton, former press secretary for Gov. George Ryan and a onetime writer and reporter at the former all-news WMAQ. His clients include the Ricketts family, owners of the Cubs.
  • A followup to Monday's report here about news anchor reassignments at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-AM (720): When Steve Bertrand shifts from middays to afternoons/evenings, Andrea Darlas will expand her morning anchor duties with Greg Jarrett to add middays with John Williams. Both moves are effective next week.
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