NEW YORK – I would describe CBS's newly revamped Early Show as lifeless, but I wouldn't want to insult the dead.
Suffice it to say that the network's new morning show, unveiled yesterday, was so lacking in energy that it had me longing for the electricity generated by Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson, who weren't exactly Mr. and Mrs. Redi-Kilowatt.
For the show's new edition, CBS doubled the number of co-hosts to four and somehow managed to slash the excitement in half -- not that there has ever been a whole lot of excitement on CBS in the morning.
Well, CBS, your reputation for producing boring morning shows is safe.
Worse than boring, though, is the fact that The Early Show is so unnecessary.
The show gives you news and analysis you can get from a dozen other sources on TV, plus interviews with as uninspired a list of guests as you'll find anywhere.
Yesterday's interview subjects included Tom Ridge, the homeland security director who has never given an interesting interview in his life; Rudy Giuliani, who does give interesting interviews but who's been seen on so many other talk shows lately promoting his new book that arranging an interview with him must have been as easy as dialing the telephone; and Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts, who were on hand to plug their CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond (which hardly needs plugging).
As for the show's new foursome of equally billed co-hosts -- Harry Smith, Julie Chen, Hannah Storm and René Syler -- their chemistry or lack thereof is beside the point.
More notable was their utter listlessness, which was so profound at times that it wouldn't have seemed out of place if one or more of them occasionally yawned or glanced at their watch.
I know I did.