New York -- Almost three years into a complete overhaul of CBS This Morning, the newscast's content is where it should be, says Chris Licht, CBS News VP and executive producer of the program. Now it's just a matter of getting people to watch. "The biggest challenge is getting what you do in front of people," he said.
Licht, mastermind behind MSNBC's freewheeling Morning Joe before shifting to CBS, was given a clean slate on which to build a new morning show. "We absolutely blew up the whole thing," said Licht, who acknowledged not even knowing CBS had a morning newscast while he was growing up. The guiding principles were honor the legacy of CBS News and forget morning newscasts ever existed while reimagining a show for the modern age. "What would you do? How would you build it? How would you staff it?" he said.
Amidst the program's progress, Licht admits it's not where it should be. "It kills me to be in third," he admitted.
Melissa Grego, B&C editor in chief, interviewed Licht during B&C/Multichannel’s Live TV Summit here Tuesday. He admitted he was nervous about producing election night coverage in November. CBS News is presently rehearsing the coverage. "I think it will look very different than what CBS did in the last election," said Licht. "More people, more energy, more around the studio, more live...just more."
Licht likened himself to a basketball coach, pacing the sidelines, during live coverage. Yet he stressed the importance of a showrunner remaining calm. "Then everyone around you is calm," he said, "and things get on television the right way."
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