Entertainment and information don't drive morning television; comfort and reassurance do. A host's tone has to be firm and precise, soothing and chummy. He or she must demonstrate a lovely gentleness and a genuine curiosity about darn near everything, from wildfires engulfing Malibu homes to Britney Spears's divorce - it is, to say the least, the toughest job in television news. It's the one place you have to be yourself and expect millions of people to like you.

The Sawyer-Roberts pairing is the most watchable element in the morning since Couric and Gumbel, and for opposite reasons. Gumbel and Couric were great together as an old married couple who, besides not liking or trusting each other much, made up for the other’s faults. Couric’s overbearing perkiness covered for Gumbel’s alienating iciness; Gumbel’s depth, interviewing skills, and poise made Couric seem less like a light, fluttering feather.

Sawyer and Roberts don’t yin and yang nearly as much. They remind me of a couple of girlfriends sitting on your couch telling you about Al Qaeda hot spots and makeup addictions.

Sawyer has that lulling and protective voice. No one delivers this sort of fuzzy journalism with keener tenacity and warmth, and there’s a reason Sawyer and Gibson were picked in 1999 to sit in, temporarily, while ABC went host-hunting. Wonder how that search is going.

Roberts is the x-factor here, the low draft choice that turned out to be a bargain pick. She is smart, witty, funny, genuine — it didn’t take long for producers to see that the woman hired as news reader embodied the traits of the perfect morning-show host.

Watching Sawyer and Roberts together is far more of a treat than watching them apart, especially when they’re just talking about their lives and their stories or when they’re doing the Florida Gator Chomp, or doing it wrong, as Sawyer did, prompting Roberts to quip while shaking her head, “Don’t cross over.”

That Sawyer and Roberts represent a two-woman team in a profession where teams are supposed to be like married folk — older guy, younger woman — hasn’t been dissected much, which means few people have even noticed it.

And that’s the glory of morning television. You can notice it when you need to.