Media Medium
3 October 2000

CHANNEL 4

Breakfast under the stars

Despite a sluggish start, the BBC's new early morning show
could set the mould for breakfast TV news.

At the heart of astrology is the recognition that the first showing of a thing gives symbolic clues to its nature and intention, and this goes for everything from babies to TV shows.

The Big Breakfast, launched on September 29 1992 at 7.00am, captured the moment of sunrise, with the sun in the relationship sign of Libra next to giant Jupiter. Its success has always depended on charisma and sexual chemistry between presenters, and its steamy Moon-Venus conjunction in Scorpio reflects those infamous interviews in bed.

But the show is in ratings trouble, and the death of Paula Yates, its first presenter, casts a shadow. An eclipse on its Mars in July, plus revolutionary Uranus contacts, suggest a transform-or-bust scenario. Johnny Vaughan (July 16 1966), a Cancerian with a motor-mouth Leo Mercury, is wisely leaving at the end of the year. He is following the promptings of his 12- year Jupiter cycle, freeing him for bigger and better things.

Going back to the past with Denise Van Outen was precisely the wrong way to do Uranus. Channel 4 may try another rejig of presenters, but this is not enough. It needs a new format and that must include a move out of the Big Breakfast house. If there is no big change by the time of the Sun's square to Uranus in July and August 2001, Big Breakfast will be out to lunch.

The BBC's new Breakfast show is news, not entertainment. Launched October 2 2000 at 6.00am, it is another Libran, anchored in a male-female duo. On first impressions, it looked a dodo. There was a lack of synchronisation and Jeremy Bowen and Sophie Raworth were faltering and stiff. But let's trust astrology. The launch horoscope shows a big-picture Sagittarian Moon, placed exactly on Saturn in the BBC's incorporation horoscope, and playing to its strength as the nation's voice of authority. The Moon also falls on the current Jupiter-Pluto axis, which is shaking up the whole of media. The three-way split screen, with continuous text updates, is more radical than it seems. The Moon is joined with silent Pluto in the communication zone of the horoscope, and viewers can get all the news they need, at a glance, with the sound turned down. It's a slow starter and it could be hammered by the critics, but given time and faith, it will set the mould for breakfast TV news.

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