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New ‘Early Show’ Team Off to Low-Key Start

Erica Hill and Chris Wragge start new era with a joke about the new year

The small talk that opened Monday's "Early Show" wasn't so small.

"Anything big going on for you in the new year?" new anchor Chris Wragge asked his equally new co-anchor, Erica Hill.

"Uh, not so much," she said. "No, back to work on a Monday."

That was the low-key way the key players in CBS' major morning shakeup acknowledged their replacement of Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez, who were ejected from the show with the new year. CBS wants to juice the ratings for the show, which generally earns about half the viewers of NBC's dominant "Today."

Wragge and Hill, who already have an easy on-air rapport as the hosts of the show's Saturday edition, dug into the news as quickly as they could. They seemed eager to get the focus off of themselves and onto the stories, and were lucky enough to start off with a juicy scandal involving videos created on board the U.S.S. Enterprise that the Navy has called "clearly inappropriate."

Also added to the show were weather anchor Marysol Castro and news anchor Jeff Glor.

Smith, who joined the show in 2002, signed off Friday with a tribute from Oprah Winfey. Weather anchor Dave Price, who left along with Smith and Rodriguez, departed two weeks ahead of schedule and announced he would leave CBS as well.