May 19, 2015 11:29 AM

CBS morning show to broadcast from top of NYC skyscraper

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) Nobody's hoping for a clear day in New York on Wednesday more than the staff at "CBS This Morning," which is broadcasting its entire two-hour show from the new 102nd floor observation deck at One World Trade Center.

It's an important booking for the morning show hosted by Gayle King, Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose, where things are looking up in its perpetual competition with ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" show.

The observation deck at the New York City skyscraper, the tallest in the United States, opens to the public on May 29.

"I went up there last week for a set visit and it's just spectacular," said Chris Licht, executive producer of the CBS show, on Tuesday. "It's an experience."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and CNN's Anderson Cooper are scheduled guests on the show.

CBS ran some fiber optic line to ensure it can transmit a live broadcast signal from the space and will import a replica of the desk that the morning hosts sit at in their 57th Street studio, Licht said. Considering the location, it wasn't otherwise a major technical challenge, he said.

Looking out from the observation deck, "it felt like the period at the end of the sentence of the rebuild of downtown" following the 2001 terrorist attack that destroyed the original World Trade Center towers, he said.

The booking is a sign that CBS is now more of a player in a morning show competition where it has long finished a distant third. CBS is still in third, but its viewership has grown 10 percent over 2014 while the other two network morning shows are down, the Nielsen company said.

So far this year, ABC's "Good Morning America" has averaged 5.47 million viewers each morning. The "Today" show has 4.9 million and "CBS This Morning" has 3.48 million, Nielsen said. For the first full week in May, however, the CBS show's average of 3.72 million viewers was its best in 11 years. Only four years ago CBS was regularly losing in the morning to "Today" by 3 million viewers; now, on good weeks, the deficit is getting close to 1 million, Nielsen said.

The attention paid to David Letterman, whose last "Late Show" before retirement is Wednesday, is pulling viewers to CBS late at night and may be giving a residual benefit to the morning show.

An eye-catching broadcast from the top of New York could help pull casual viewers in to "CBS This Morning"; Licht said he wants those people to get a taste of what the show does every morning.

"Our biggest challenge is getting people to sample it," Licht said. "When people sample it, they tend to like what they see."

New York City's weather forecast on Wednesday is for partly cloudy skies.


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