Maria Bartiromo's Slow Start On Fox Business

Maria Bartiromo premiered her new show on Fox Business Monday morning, and it’s off to a pretty slow start.

We see two reasons for this. First, the former CNBC star known for her booking prowess failed to schedule any show-stoppers. Second the discussion-based format of the show isn’t quite hot enough to keep viewers glued to the screen.

Bartiromo shocked Wall Street when she left her decades-long home of CNBC for the less-watched Fox Business Network at the end of 2013.

Being the scrappy kid nipping at Bloomberg and CNBC’s heels, observers expected Fox Business and Bartiromo to pull out all the stops for her debut — ticker tape parade, 76 trombones, the works. The reason why a network hires a lifer like Bartiromo is for her fire (and star) power, after all.

And what makes a big part of a great hour of informative news? The guests. Booking is crucial and it means everything to financial news consumers, especially in a world where information on stocks and breaking news can be found online.

On day one Bartiromo booked Jon Hilsenrath, the Wall Street Journal reporter known for Federal Reserve scoops; Bank of America Head of U.S. Equity Savita Subramanian; Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher; and Mario Gabelli CEO of GAMCO investments. All of these folks are interesting people with large followings, but they aren’t necessarily market movers (read: headline makers).

Plus, Gabelli was on Bloomberg TV on January 22nd. Wall Street has seen him since the ‘hey, this ain’t 2013’s 30%-market anymore’ discussion that’s dominating headlines these days started.

Meanwhile, CNBC booked Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam (telecoms, so hot right now), former European Central Bank President Jean Claude Trichet (everyone’s talking about eurozone inflation), and economist Larry Summers (he was a frontrunner for Fed chair) for Monday morning.

Booking day one isn’t something you can do over again, but our second issue with the show — Bartiromo’s comfort with its slightly more discussion heavy format — will likely to improve with time. For now, it’s not quite lively enough to keep viewers from switching back to their regularly scheduled programming.

Here’s an example — During her discussion with Hilsenrath and Subramanian, Bartiromo made a quick comment about the stock market, which people are getting into fist fights over on Wall Street these days.

“The corrective action of the market is almost over,” she said, citing a technical trader.

It’s a relatively bold statement to make in a year when analysts all over the street are predicting choppy waters. On Bartiromo’s show though, it just rolled off the tongue and into the atmosphere without further debate. In fact, the S&P 500 actually went green for the year this morning — so what is there to discuss?

If you’re trying to peel viewers away from channels that are muscle memorized into their fingertips, it’s important to take every opportunity to jump on the questions that are on everyone’s mind. Guests and hosts alike have to stay on their toes and be vigilant for moments when they can turn things up a notch.

All this said — hey, it’s day one. Even a professional like Bartiromo needs time to hit a stride, no?

Wrinkles, like the one below can get ironed out (“Maria Gabelli).

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