Mark Hyman, WAGA
Rodney Ho’s AJC blog reports WAGA is re-assigning its so-called Road Warrior. Mark Hyman is returning to daytime general assignment reporting. Ho says WAGA hasn’t decided how to replace him and is considering rotating reporters through the shift, a notion that probably chills the bones of some of the staff there now.
The Road Warrior is a worthwhile effort to take the hours-long Good Day Atlanta away from the tedium of the studio. The problem is that it hasn’t worked well. Hyman’s predecessor, Brett Martin, cultivated an image as an on-air fool. It seemed to play well with the audience but made folks cringe at the TV station. Hyman is a good reporter and is a genuinely funny guy. But he isn’t a truly natural TV performer.
Sarah Parker, WGCL
It isn’t just Hyman’s fault. Too often, the segment finds itself at restaurants that have opened early just to accommodate WAGA. The Road Warrior needs a full-time producer to figure a way out of the restrictions that naturally occur at that hour.
Few have noticed, but WGCL has installed Sarah Parker as its version of the Road Warrior on Better Mornings Atlanta. Parker may help that program expand its viewership beyond friends and family of the on-air talent. She’s at ease, a bit wry and bubbly when necessary. Like Hyman, she too often finds herself at restaurants.
We'll have what he's drinking: Matt "Lucky" Yates
The problem with both Hyman and Parker is that they’re TV reporters. WAGA needs to realize that this isn’t a reporter gig. They need to hire a comedian. somebody who is smart and knows Atlanta and has some varied experiences as a performer. A quick wit is essential. A slightly subversive streak would be a plus.
WAGA would be lucky to get this guy.
I’m not a fan of morning TV, which I stopped watching when Brokaw switched from “Today” to the Nightly News following the retirement of John Chancellor. The local morning staple, Good Day Atlanta on WAGA, is painful– though legions of viewers clearly love it. The Road Warrior segments are an opportunity for the show to get out of the studio. But they, too, are often painful to watch.
Mark Hyman has a somewhat understated, slightly mad, comedic touch. But when Hyman shows up to do the tour of homes in Roswell— with a tour guide who is exceedingly well coiffed at 7:30 in the morning– the comedic potential seems almost nonexistent. The presentation is informative, but not very memorable. Few situations seem to avail themselves at 7:30am for Hyman to shine.
Hyman is a vast improvement over his predecessor Bret Martin, who now shills for movie promoters at WGCL’s Better Mornings show. At WAGA, Martin’s shtick was to demean himself on-camera whenever possible. Now, as a “movie reviewer,” he shamelessly promotes the worst drek in Hollywood. While interviewing the star of a movie called Never Back Down, Martin likened the actor (whose studio likely flew Martin to Hollywood to interview him) to a young Tom Cruise. The New York Times called the movie “lunkheaded.” The Minneapolis Star-Tribune said it had “no brains.” Martin called it “forgettable,” in an otherwise favorable piece that doubtlessly pleased the movie’s promoters.
At least Martin wasn’t interviewing an attractive starlet. He tends to salivate openly in the presence of female hotness.
46’s Better Mornings show isn’t a news program, which is their “out” for adhering to any standards of objectivity or journalistic ethics. It’s hard to imagine that morning TV can become any less watchable. But by gosh, the suits in TV land are trying.