Early Birds at the Early Show … Daljit Graces CNN

Wednesday, June 12

G.T. Rebac looked delirious. It was shortly after 7 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, and the curly-haired Mr. Rebac was sitting cross-legged and sleepy-eyed on a concrete step outside the G.M. building at 59th and Fifth, where every single New Yorker knows CBS does its Early Show shindig every weekday morning.

Mr. Rebac had been sitting here for 18 brutal hours-since 1 p.m. the previous day, for goodness’ sake-having traveled from Philadelphia to see Vanessa Carlton, the piano-tinkling 21-year-old pop star, appear on the Early Show . Figuring he needed to get to 59th and Fifth before anyone else did in order to get a good seat, Mr. Rebac spent the afternoon and entire night out in front of the studio in his Philadelphia Phillies’ Steve Carlton (get it? Carlton!) jersey. He didn’t sleep a wink.

Indeed, Mr. Rebac, who was joined by his friend, Alexis P. Young (“That’s Young-as in ‘never getting old'”) had scored himself a good seat. But he probably could have scored the same exact seat by arriving at approximately 7:02 a.m., sparing himself some 17 sleepless hours and change. That’s because the also-ran Early Show doesn’t draw the Beatlemania-type crowds that Today does in Rockefeller Center-when Britney Spears played Today, astronauts could see the throng from space. Even ABC’s Good Morning America ‘s fish tank in Times Square pulls a larger crowd.

But Mr. Rebac didn’t seem to care. “This is more laid-back,” he said of the Early Show . Today, he said, is “bedlam. It’s great, but it’s a little restricted .”

Of course, CBS wouldn’t mind a little more human energy-a few hundred more G.T. Rebacs-on the plaza each morning, whooping it up for the Early Show . Despite modest gains in the past year or so, the show continues to trail far behind Today and GMA, and last month both co-anchor Bryant Gumbel and executive producer Steve Friedman departed. Mr. Freidman was replaced by former Today hand Michael Bass, and the hunt is on for a successor to Mr. Gumbel. Plenty of names had been floated-Meredith Vieira, Jim Nantz, Tom Bergeron, Bill Clinton even-with no decision imminent. Within CBS, the hope is to appoint a new co-anchor by the fall.

John Sweeney and his posse had some ideas. Mr. Sweeney and his broad-shouldered buddies Brent McNally and Garret Ey had tromped to 59th from Milford, Penn.-thankfully, they hadn’t decided to stay the night-to see Miss Vanessa, too. “I’m in love,” said Mr. Sweeney. But he and his pals were strangely hip to the Early Show, and offered suggestions for who should become the new co-host.

“O.J. Simpson,” Mr. Ey said. “O.J. Simpson would be good.”

“Howard Stern,” said Mr. McNally.

“Roger Clemens,” said Mr. Sweeney, who wore a Jorge Posada Yankees jersey.

The one thing these bubs didn’t want was to see CBS cast off remaining Early Show co-host Jane Clayson.

“Jane’s pretty hot,” said Mr. Sweeney.

The boys stood directly outside the Early Show ‘s windowed studio, listening to the action inside. Mr. Ey, who himself wore a faded, backward Red Sox cap, said he watched the program “pretty much every morning.”

Aw, c’mon.

“Yeah,” Mr. Ey said. He said he watched the Early Show to “keep informed.”

Aw, give us a break. We asked: Who’s the Early Show weather man?

“Which one?” Mr. Ey said. “Mark McEwen or Ira Joe?”

Freaky. Turns out the Early Show is for kids. How about Carson Daly, Mr. Bass?

Today on the Early Show , Ms. Clayson tells everyone to “give it up for Ludacris.” [WCBS, 2, 7 a.m.]

Thursday, June 13

Daljit Dhaliwal, the former anchor of ITN World News for Public Television and occasional David Letterman lust object, is returning to television as the anchor of CNN International.

Ms. Dhaliwal had been out of the game for several months, and in that time her agent had fielded offers from a number of American networks. Among the parties said to be interested in her were the folks assembling the long-delayed McNeil-Lehrer/ New York Times weekday news show for PBS, which has been held up as it tries to find sufficient sponsorship dough.

“I don’t know what the deal is with that project,” Ms. Dhaliwal. “Certainly I know my name came up in association with that project, but I think it was a funding issue.”

Ms. Dhaliwal will, however, appear on PBS (with former State Department mouth and Christiane Amanpour husband James Rubin) as the host of Wide Angle , an upcoming news-documentary program. As for CNN International, Ms. Dhaliwal will anchor the network’s World News program starting this August, as well as the weekend World Report show.

“I want to continue to cover international news, and that’s what CNN does extremely well,” Ms. Dhaliwal explained.

Though she’s based in London, Ms. Dhaliwal became a bona fide American mini-celebrity-she was named one of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People”-because of World News for Public Television ‘s sizable American audience. Though it’s not currently on the domestic lineup, viewers here in the States should soon be able to see World Report ; dedicated Dalji-freaks will have to get digital-cable service for the foreign stuff.

Ms. Dhaliwal will soon be moving to Atlanta to begin her assignment. Will she miss London? “I won’t miss the weather!” she said.

Sounds like a yes. Today on CNN, catch Paula Zahn’s off-to-Sixth-Avenue American Morning . Lately, Paula’s co-anchor has been the brainy young ‘un Bill Hemmer, giving the a.m. show’s chemistry a nice Benjamin Braddock dynamic. [CNN, 10, 7 a.m.]

Friday, June 14

Alan Keyes was Making Sense . Now he’s going to be making little paper doilies until his cable-television employer figures out where to put his show.

That’s because the ever-wacky MSNBC-that’s America’s, and Secaucus’, news channel, buster!-announced its rejiggered lineup this week, and Mr. Keyes, the former Presidential-candidate firebrand, found himself bumped from the cable network’s prime-time roster.

So what’s in that roster? Well, you got some Ashleigh Banfield at 10 p.m., some Chris Matthews at 9 p.m. some Phil Donahue at 8 p.m., and- what the heck is this? -some Jerry Nachman at 7 p.m.

That’s right, Mr. Nachman came back to TV pledging to be the Lou Boudreau of cable-he’s working both as an executive and an on-air talent-but he’s looking more like Alfonso Soriano. Mr. Nachman’s brief run as an afternoon MSNBC mouthpiece impressed the suits enough that they decided to move him up to 7 p.m., the big time. Or, at least, Jeopardy! time.

The only problem is the name. Mr. Nachman’s show is currently titled Nachman, which sounds like something Fred Silverman greenlit. You know, Jerry plays a curmudgeonly editor with a heart of gold, and Marilu Henner plays ….

Mr. Nachman thought the title was fine and spoke for itself, but he confessed that the gang at 30 Rock don’t know what to make of Nachman .

“Some of the people are saying, ‘You’re assuming you’re, like, a national name,'” he said.

What a bunch of snobs! You don’t think thousands of kids get up every morning and wonder what Jerry Nachman’s thinking?

Besides, who doesn’t have his name on his or her cable show these days?

“O’Reilly now talks about his show in the third person,” Mr. Nachman said of the Fox News cleanup hitter. “‘ The Factor is angry at so-and-so.’ He does that to me all the time! ‘When are you coming on The Factor ?’ He never calls it his show.”

In other Nachman news, Mr. Nachman thinks there’s a place on cable for his old pal Bill Maher, who was recently shot into space by ABC. He thinks Mr. Maher would be best on a pay outfit like HBO, where he could let the filthy words fly, but said he could do a talk show, too. “He’d be great on a talk show,” Mr. Nachman said. “He’s got great range.”

And what about Alan Keyes? How about a morning show? Alan Keyes Is Making Breakfast?

Tonight, Alan Keyes Flips a Big Fat Finger at all those who have done him wrong. [MSNBC, 43, 10 p.m.]

Saturday, June 15

80 You know, it’s amazing we’ve gotten this far in the season without it happening, but after a few more late-inning Yankee comebacks, 100,000 Westchester dads will march on down to Central Park in their khakis and Sperry topsiders to rally against Cablevision for its refusal to air the Yankee porno network, YES.

The Cablevision-YES skirmish, of course, has been a boon for DirecTV, which is more than happy to drive over and install one of its little gray woks on your roof so you can rejoin the Pinstripe Nation and see grueling hour-long interviews with Yankee imp Billy Crystal-and Nancy Boy Roger Clemens carefully avoid throwing a strike to Barry Bonds.

“We couldn’t buy this type of exposure,” said DirecTV spokesguy Bob Marsocci. “Two months ago, at the beginning of the dispute, there was daily coverage. We were the beneficiaries of that coverage.”

Mr. Marsocci said the satellite surge continues; DirecTV continues to send its dish dudes all over the New York area. “We had to deploy installers from other parts of the country to New York to meet demand,” he said.

Like what other states?

“I’m not sure,” Mr. Marsocci said. “I think some surrounding states like Pennsylvania.”

O.K., so it’s not like they’re schlepping from Alabama, but still …

Today on YES, take a fork to the Yogi Berra Museum . [YES, 80, 5:30 p.m.]

Sunday, June 16

So naturally everyone’s jazzed about George Stephanopoulos’ imminent selection as the sole host of ABC’s This Week , wondering how he’ll stack up against another operative-turned-host, Meet the Press ‘ Tim Russert, but why is everyone forgetting about that other guy, CBS’s Bob Schieffer?

After all, Mr. Schieffer’s Face The Nation -the Pepperidge Farm of the Sunday roundtable shows-has shown surprising spark lately, running neck and neck in the ratings with ABC’s outfit.

How does Mr. Schieffer explain Face ‘s relevance? “I think because we’re the old-fashioned show, we’ve become unique,” Mr. Schieffer said. “Things continue to change all around us, and because we are so traditional, it kind of sets us apart.”

Mr. Schieffer welcomed Mr. Stephanopoulos to the competition, and downplayed the harrumphing about the former Clinton aide’s minimal journalism experience. “You know, we don’t license journalists in this country,” he said. “Everyone can declare themselves a journalist, and everybody has a right to do that-the public kind of decides whether they are or not.”

Mr. Schieffer said he wished the ABC’s Stephanoperation well, but “not too well.” The CBS News correspondent also had warm words for Mr. Stephanopoulos’ soon-to-be-departed colleagues, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson.

“I feel very badly for Sam and Cokie,” Mr. Schieffer said. “I am really going to miss them.”

Today on Face the Nation , Mr. Schieffer brags that, he, too, dated Jennifer Grey and Jennifer Aniston, and “it ain’t no thang.” [WCBS, 2, 10:30 a.m.]

Monday, June 17

Meanwhile, ABC News has made at least one decision official, plucking overseas correspondent Bob Woodruff out of international waters and installing him as a weekend anchor of World News Tonight . Mr. Woodruff, who will continue to do reporting work, will rotate in the weekend anchor slot with Elizabeth Vargas. And since Mr. Woodruff is young and square-jawed, people have naturally speculated that he could be a Brian Williams-in-training to Peter Jennings, and one day rule the desk all to himself.

Mr. Woodruff wasn’t having any of it, though. “Not a single word has been spoken about that to me,” he said of the future-mongering. “People are free to speculate, but there are so many talented people at ABC-and outside of ABC. Whether or not there will be any kind of succession to that job, who knows. Certainly no one’s talked to me about it.

“I think it’s just a bit of a feeding frenzy out there on this particular story, about who’s going to succeed the anchors. Like last summer’s shark bites. I think I just got nibbled in the foot by a reef shark or something.”

No-that’s Charlie Gibson, bub! On this evening’s World News Tonight , Mr. Jennings says he likes “that Nachman fellow, on MSNBC.” [WABC, 7, 6:30 p.m.]

Tuesday, June 18

Okay, so it was kind of funny that VH1 went and built itself a big fancy news operation-all that’s missing is a harried Steve Brill, running around, barking orders-but the gang did score a timely hit with last week’s VH1 News Special: R. Kelly Sex Scandal , which arrived the day after the crooner’s creepy indictment on child-pornography charges.

On the other hand, VH1, while we understand corporate sponsorship, what was with making lithe correspondent Rachel Perry hold a bottle of Heineken all weekend during her coverage of the (Heiny-sponsored) Queen’s Jubiliee festivities? Burp! Pass a sixer, Rach!

Tonight on VH1, Driven examines the pre-Manson Marilyn Manson. Learned: Marilyn doesn’t like anyone calling him by his real name, Brian. Okay, Brian . [VH1, 19, 9 p.m.]