Wassup With ‘Where’ Versus ‘Who’

Nov 14, 2005  •  Post A Comment

It’s pop test time, dear readers. Shut your books, get out a piece of lined paper and a pencil and we’ll check your recall of last week’s most pressing morning-news questions. That is, except for the big question of whether “Today” might be able to hold on to first place against “Good Morning America’s” day-after parade of scenes excised from big hits “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.”


1. “Where in the World Was Matt Lauer” last week?

2. “Who in the World Is Mike Barz” and why did he go on a cross-country odd-jobs odyssey last week on “GMA,” and where did he stop?

3. Why in the world would “Good Morning America” executive producer Ben Sherwood have cloned-down to the opening graphics for his series-one of his competitor’s most popular signature features to showcase one of his lesser-known family members?

4. How in the world did “Today” executive producer Jim Bell feel about seeing his first experience with “Today’s” globe-girdling “Where” run opposite “GMA’s” domestic “Who”?

5. What in the world of morning shows is next?


1. Easter Island; the Panama Canal; Innsbruck in the Austrian Alps; Shanghai, China; and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

2. Mike Barz, a former morning sports anchor at Chicago’s WGN-TV and feature reporter/anchor at WLUK-TV in Green Bay, Wis., joined “GMA” last summer. He’s the designated zany guy. In a segment about the wear, tear and care of personal digital devices, he dunked, dropped and kicked cellphones, PDAs and MP3 players, and we saw more of his feet than we did of his face. “GMA’s” Mr. Sherwood described Mr. Barz as the possessor of a good sense of humor who “is game for anything.” Last week “anything” included diving for golf balls on a course in Orlando, Fla.; cleaning the teeth of Kalia the whale at Sea World in San Diego; and giving a pachyderm a pedicure in Detroit.

3. “It was an homage to the mighty Matt. It was a playful homage to one of the great franchises in morning television,” Mr. Sherwood said. “We were having a little inside fun.”

4. “I guess if imitation is the highest form of flattery, the ‘Today’ show is accustomed to being flattered, whether it’s the concerts or the outdoor set or ‘Where in the World.’ It’s an honor,” Mr. Bell said.

5. “We hope we’ll come up with some new stuff that will start here and you’ll see everywhere else, whether it’s a year or years after,” said Mr. Bell, whose show won by margins of 700,000 to more than 1 million viewers last week, according to fast nationals from Nielsen Media Research.

The Insider thinks that posting a bio for Mr. Barz on “GMA’s” Web page would go a long way toward helping viewers bond with him. Elisabeth Leamy, the consumer correspondent who also joined “GMA” this summer, has her bio posted.

Ms. Leamy went comparison shopping for diamonds at Costco and Tiffany. The story, which first aired last month on weekend “GMA,” ran again on the weekday show last week.

However, The Insider does not expect to see Mr. Barz retracing his steps on “GMA.”