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'New Day' review: Ho-hum CNN morning news

From left, Kate Bolduann, Chris Cuomo, and news

From left, Kate Bolduann, Chris Cuomo, and news anchor Michaela Pereira host CNN's "New Day." Photo Credit: CNN

THE SHOW CNN's "New Day" launched last week (it airs weekdays from 6-9 a.m.). So, how'd it do? Starting with...

THE GOOD In fact, the three anchors. Kate Bolduan can clearly think on her feet, and displays some of the brisk efficiency of her very capable predecessor (Soledad O'Brien) without any of the aloofness. Chris Cuomo (a former ABC News correspondent and also brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo) is not normally a natural fit for a morning program -- his persona can sometimes feel too studied, which is a nice way of saying "stiff" -- but the format of the first half of this show works to his strengths. The 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. blocs do have an above-average story count, and Cuomo -- clearly a smart guy with news chops -- handles the pace expertly. Finally, Michaela Pereira. She's the "likable" one, the classic morning family personality with the easy laugh... Too bad the show hasn't figured out what to do with her yet.

THE BAD CNN had two obvious options with Jeff Zucker's most important initiative since he became president in January: The low road or high road. Instead, a third was taken -- the middle. There's nothing on "New Day" that hasn't been done before, and nothing that's distinctive. "New Day" is essentially a gestalt of many morning programs, yet still manages to feel too timid or too subconsciously aware of the forgettable history that preceded it.

Even this "more news" promise made before launch seems like a bait-and-switch, as the show morphs into the usual post-8 a.m. claptrap, where a comfy couch replaces a desk, and bland filler arrives, such as the "Award of the Day" or "The Good Stuff" (focusing on "good" news). Good grief!

File under "free advice," but "New Day" needs to command the worldwide resources of this once-proud news organization, then reflect them. It needs to convey forcefully, confidently, to viewers that over three hours, from 6 to 9 a.m., they will get hard news... enterprise stories... intelligence analysis. No fluff. No "good" news. No filler. No bull. Certainly no couch. In other words, take that road less traveled -- the high one. There's still time.

GRADE (So far) C+

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