Got to catch some of the new 40 In The Morning with Dan Williams and Kim Zachary. The early verdict is, the show needs work. The problems have nothing to do with Dan and Kim. The pair is dealing with the inadequacies of a set that looks like it was designed to read morning announcements in a high school. The couple sits at what appears to be three office desks butted up against each other to form the basis of the set. Behind them, a picture of Springfield and two tall book cases framing the shot.
There are two radio microphones (Electro-Voice?) atop tall mic stands to bring them to mouth level which seems an effort to bring some AM-FM swag to the show. This leads to the question of whether we are seeing a radio program on television. I think the answer is yes. The on-air presentation says radio.
The problem is the set does not remotely work with a radio, or even a television, talk program. Watching the interviewing of a guest is painful as he/she is sandwiched between the hosts and we see Dan getting whiplash attempting to twist his head and look their visitor. It is incredibly unnatural positioning for those on the set and not inviting for the viewer.
The real killer is the Dan & Kim portions of the program are shot with a static camera. You need to create movement to make the show more vibrant and visually interesting. Even more so when you have talking heads sitting there. The new CBS This Morning program is fantastic at panning around the set and holding our attention through motion and the changing of angles. This should serve as a model for WGGB.
There is a need to get Dan & Kim visually involved with the news and weather staff. A triangular table located in the heart of the news set with views of the news desk and weather green screen would provide context and a nice back drop to what the main hosts are doing. Currently Dan & Kim could be in their basement for all we know, there seems to be no physical attachment to the people with whom they are working.
Video could be played in the background on the green screen adding some sizzle and some strategically placed video monitors would be nice. We could see newswoman Julia Dunn and weatherman Dan Brown behind the hosts getting ready for the next news or weathercast. This could lead to more interplay between all of them leading to opportunities for three or four shots all contributing to the appearance of having a morning team.
Critically, the triangular table provides hosts and guests the opportunity to look at each other in a natural manner. Lastly, the live stream has got to be fixed. Last Tuesday, the audio on the stream was 30 seconds ahead of the video rendering it unwatchable. I posted the issue on WGGB’s Facebook page and received a response that the station was working on the issue. All was fixed the next day. The next morning the feed was back in the dumper.
Don’t promote something that does not work reliably. It not only honks off your customers/viewers, it makes you appear inept and uncaring. So far 40 In The Morning has been skewered on Facebook with Dan & Kim taking the brunt of the heat. I would argue this criticism has been unfair, but they are the public face of the operation and people do not like change. The issue is not the number of people complaining, it is how many are watching. The good news is that changes can be made to improve the product, lets see how it evolves.