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The Week Ahead

Fox tries mornings again, for a laugh

January 22, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Juliet Huddy can't stand it any longer. She reaches across a table to wipe dirt off the shirt of TV partner Mike Jerrick, over his left breast.

Jerrick responds by reaching over to Huddy's shirt. He stops just short, of course.

Har-de-har!

Chemistry is as important as coffee in the morning, at least on television. Fox is hoping that viewers respond to Huddy and Jerrick's hyperactive goofiness as the broadcast network launches its own morning show today.

"The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet" will air for an hour each day. At first it will be seen in around 40% of the country, big cities where Fox's parent News Corp. owns the station, such as KTTV-TV Channel 11 in L.A., where it will air weekdays at 10 a.m.

Fox has tried twice in the last decade or so to establish morning shows, but they haven't stuck. Fox keeps trying because success in morning television can be a cash cow; NBC's "Today" show announced last week that it is milking theirs by adding a fourth hour in September.

For Fox, "the time is now," said Dennis Swanson, president of Fox TV station operations. Because all 24 of the Fox-owned stations air local news and information programming from 5 to 9 a.m., "The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet" is a logical extension, he said.

Huddy, 37, and Jerrick, 52, radiated nervous energy as they counted down the days to the premiere.

Their camaraderie developed from several years as co-hosts of Fox News Channel's chatty "Fox & Friends" weekend edition. They met for the first time on the set of "Fox & Friends" in October 2002, 10 minutes before going on the air together.

They giggle at each other's jokes, finish each other's thoughts. They even live near each other in New Jersey. "They genuinely like each other, which is nice," executive producer Tom Mazzarelli said.

Jerrick has been host of entertainment-oriented programs on HBO and Sci Fi, and was a co-anchor of the morning show "Good Day Philadelphia." Huddy worked as a local news anchor, reporter and producer before landing at Fox News Channel as a Miami-based correspondent in 1998.

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