If you're female, morning TV is made for you. Writes Alessandra Stanley in today's New York Times: "Morning programs like 'Today' on NBC and 'The View' on ABC are the modern equivalents of the old Barbizon Hotel for Women, a frilly haven where men were not allowed above the first floor โ€” or here, after the first hour โ€” and viewers are treated to diet tips, ambush makeovers, cancer health scares, relationship counseling and, of course, shopping." And so the fourth hour of "news" on Today is full of handbags, frugal fast-food finds and product placements. For chicks only! Matt Lauer doesn't stick around, but, Ms. Stanley explains, "[Al] Roker gamely tags along for recipe tests, laundry tips and makeup lessons like a husband dragged through a Labor Day white sale." And with so many segments for the "Christmas holiday marketing frenzy," she adds, "It is sometimes hard to tell the NBC program [Today] from those on ShopNBC or QVC." Hey, girls love to shop, right?

Over on The View, it's always been about women, but Ms. Stanley claims that since Rosie O'Donnell left, the show lacks the "unhinged energy" it had. "The discussions have turned more sedate and predictable," she complains. And of Today, Ms. Stanley says the changes have "smoothed out some of the more interesting quirks, making the new format seem even longer than four hours." In other words, a woman finds the programming for women downright boring. Where did the producers go wrong? What do women really want out of morning television, anyway, if not handbags, diet tips and Whoopi Goldberg? News and weather?

Morning TV Veers From News To Frills [New York Times]