At This Hour with John Berman and Michaela Pereira is a pretty good show. Make no mistake, though… It isn’t the “West Coast morning show” it was billed to be. But that is an issue that can be very easily remedied, in my opinion.
First of all, it is little more than a branded version of Newsroom. Sure, there’s a new tune played at the beginning, and they have nice, special graphics for their branded hour, but it’s nothing that Brooke Baldwin’s branded-but-not-renamed block of Newsroom doesn’t have. Still, the hosts are good, which make the show good, and that means there is a real chance for the show.
What needs to change, then?
Well, if this is truly to appeal to Michaela’s west-coast viewers, then make it feel like a morning show. I’m going to be honest: their studio is nice. I always enjoy when Don Lemon anchors from there and when Ashleigh Banfield does Legal View from there. (Which, coincidentally, happens directly after At This Hour now). So why can’t they use a morning-feeling studio?
Both the Early Start studio and the New Day studio convey the sense of a morning news program. They have the round table, the couch – everything that one expects in a traditional morning show. I’m all for changing things and being unique; but considering every other morning-billed program on CNN uses a traditional morning set, their west-coast morning show should use one, too.
Plus, it is rather awkward when they’re both on the screen. They’re very close in proximity to each other. This week, CNN moved Berman and Michaela to the side, so they aren’t as close, but they are still relatively close – nothing that can’t be fixed by switching studios. (Which there’s nothing wrong with doing!)
All in all, though, the show has plenty of potential. No, it isn’t anything new. But both of the hosts make it watchable and enjoyable, and if they fix it up a little and give it morning of a morning feel, I think it can be a very good show.