Sensing a rare opportunity to get noticed, CBS is setting aside its entire morning show Monday to the story of U.S. Airways pilot and Danville resident Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the crew that helped land a disabled jet in the Hudson River with no fatalities.
Besides the crew members, "The Early Show" will talk to rescuers and survivors, and hear a performance from Australian singer Emma Sophina, a passenger who was moved to write about the experience. It will be the song's public debut.
"The Early Show" is perpetually third in the morning ratings. But it has a chance to reach new viewers with the show, which can be heavily promoted alongside Katie Couric's "60 Minutes" interview with the crew and during the Grammy Awards. Both shows are being aired the night before.
CBS doesn't have a morning exclusive with Sullenberger. The pilot also will appear live on ABC's "Good Morning America" Monday before his visit to "The Early Show."
U.S. Airways Flight 1549 landed in the frigid Hudson River on Jan. 15 after geese flew into its engines and disabled them.
"It's a chance for America to celebrate these heroes," said Zev Shalev, executive producer of "The Early Show.
The morning ratings leader, NBC's "Today" show, thought it had a commitment for the first Sullenberger interview until the crew decided to speak with Couric on "60 Minutes." "Today" said it had no plans to interview Sullenberger.