CBS is changing the name, look and sound of ‘CBS This Morning’

When CBS News relocates its morning newscast to Times Square, the show is getting yet another makeover with a new name and on air updates that incorporate the looks and sounds of the network’s iconic “Sunday Morning” broadcast — all in an effort to make every morning more consistent. 

The show, currently known as “CBS This Morning,” will become “CBS Mornings,” starting Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, the day after Labor Day.

The show is getting a new (to it) logo that incorporates the sun icon used for years on “Sunday Morning” — as well a new orange and white color scheme done in the flatter style CBS is moving toward.

The new show logo is set in TT Norms, the font being used across the ViacomCBS empire, including replacing Didot in the CBS News logo.

A familiar theme song will also begin playing on the network six days a week: “CBS Mornings” will switch to the “Sunday Morning” theme, a trumpet fanfare performed by Wynton Marsalis based on the piece “Abblasen,” a piece attributed to Gottfried Reiche, who lived during the 1660s and 1730s.

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CBS worked with Jack Morton Worldwide, under the direction of Creative Director Renee Cullen, to refresh the set it built on the second floor Times Square studio for the network’s 2020 election coverage. 

Changes included switching out some of the metallic wall finishes with wood tones and updates to the floors to feature simulated white, wide plank wood flooring with blonde wood overlays. 

Based on photos released by CBS, the updated set retains the circular anchor desk found at its existing set at the CBS Broadcast Center, but with a backlit center accented with vertical blonde wood elements.

The CBS eye logo is not longer “etched” into the glass — but rather is created using wood and metallic toned materials.

Behind the primary anchor area is a large LED video wall topped with video ribbons — with the option to feed a virtual set extension that creates the illusion of a curved backed of “windows” behind the anchor desk — with oversized CBS eye and sun “etchings.”

The photos don’t clearly indicate if the windows overlooking Times Square will be used — they were covered during election broadcasts — but it also seems it would easy to flip the anchors to the opposite side of the circular desk to shoot them against the sprawling Times Square backdrop (CBS’s logo has the advantage of being able to “read” correctly from either direction).

Promotional clips also indicate that some of the on-set work areas built for election coverage may remain, a feature leftover from the old home at Studio 57. There’s also a brief glimpse at what appears to be a white faux exposed brick wall installed camera left of the main area, perhaps an effort to carry over some of that look for the old set.

One side features an alcove that was originally designed as a standup location for exit polling on election night. It is now set up with sofas and a coffee table, though it’s not clear if this is meant as the on camera green room that “CTM” had in Studio 57 or will be used on air for interviews — or perhaps both.

By renaming “CBS This Morning,” this will mark the second time the network has abandoned the name for its morning show. It was originally used from 1987 to 1999, when the show rebranded as “The Early Show” and began broadcasting from a windowed studio in the General Motors building in NYC.

In 2012, the network announced it would switch back to the “CBS This Morning” name. 

Part of the strategy with the name change is to better connect the weekday morning show with the stalwart “Sunday Morning” show that’s been on the air since 1979.

To reinforce that branding, “CBS This Morning Saturday” will be renamed “CBS Saturday Morning.”

“The three morning broadcasts will share a similar look and editorial breadth,” reads the announcement. 

“All CBS News morning broadcasts will now be part of the same family, with a focus on original reporting and exquisite storytelling, connected by the sound of the iconic trumpet music and an ethos of optimism that carries all the way through to the sunshine logo itself,” said Neeraj Khemlani, president co-head of CBS News and stations in a statement. “We’re adding a little bit of ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ – every morning – on ‘CBS Mornings.’”

CBS also noted that it will add expanded feature reporting in the second hour of the show, while sticking with a more hard news focus for the first hour.

CBS used a similar branding approach from 1980 to 1982, when Charles Kuralt, who hosted “Sunday Morning” at the time, was brought to the weekday program in attempt to boost ratings. This format too used many of the same on air elements.

The changes also come with a new anchor joining the weekday team — Nate Burleson, a CBS Sports analyst and former NFLer, who is being brought in to replace Anthony Mason, who is expected to contribute “culture” reports to the show.

Jane Pauley will remain host of “Sunday Morning” while Jeff Glor, Dana Jacobson and Michelle Miller will continue to host the renamed Saturday edition. 

CBS already airs a program called “CBS Morning News” as an early morning offering to affiliates, who typically air it right before their local morning newscasts. It frequently airs immediately follow “CBS Overnight News,” which, as its name implies, is the network’s nightside news broadcast, consisting largely of repeats of segments from “Evening News” mixed in with original anchor blocks.

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