Is motherhood always a competitive advantage?

Forget health care and Afghanistan, the big news question is: Who's going to replace Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America"?

I know there are bigger life-and-death issues out there in the world, but who we share our morning coffee matters, or at least it does to some of us. The person who delivers your news becomes part of your life. Or rather, they become part of your life in that weird TV I-feel-like-I-know-you-and-we're-pals-even-though-we've-never-really-met sort of way.

That's one of the odd paradoxes of television. We want a morning show host who seems like they're one of us. Yet they also have to be razor-smart, well informed, good-looking and a quick study, and be willing to wake up every day at 3 a.m. and work like a dog, all while appearing jovial, in-charge and glamorous in a non-threatening sort of way.

With millions of dollars in potential advertising revenue at stake, you can just imagine how much time the big boys in New York are spending podering this one.

And there-in lies the challenge.

The network execs who decide such matters are, generally speaking, highly paid, mostly male, mostly white executives who live in Manhattan. Yet they have to choose a host that will resonate with a suburban housewife in Snellville, a teacher in Omaha and waitress in Tuscon.

Odds makers say that ABC is leaning toward promoting GMA weekend anchor Kate Snow into the top job. I haven't been invited to any conference calls on the subject, but as an avid student of the TV landscape, I suspect they favor Snow for some obvious reasons.

She meets the brains, beauty and talent requirements. Thin and blond as well as uber-smart (undergrad from Cornell, master's in foreign service from Georgetown) she exudes that approachable, calming energy audiences expect in the morning.

However, Snow also has another advantage, and I wonder if the network brass even realize what a big deal it: She's a mother.

Women are the primary audience for morning shows, and the group most coveted by advertisers is moms. With two little kids under the age of 6, Snow feels like one of us. We might not be able to share our cornflakes with a real girlfriend, but a TV substitute is the next best thing.

The mom factor has actually been one of the underpinnings behind some of TV's most successful morning hosts (think Katie Couric and Joan Lunden).

The host may be in full make-up and have covered six stories before our alarm even goes off. But if she's a mom, we know she deals with the same challenges we do.

As if to further prove the point, a group of Midwest moms has actually started a Facebook group called "We're for Kate Snow."

Is it possible that being a mother has suddenly become a competitive advantage?

I've actually met Kate Snow when we both spoke at a conference. The morning we were introduced she was trying to get a coffee stain out of her suit because her 4-year-old had banged into her as she was walking out the door.

She was smart and interesting, but it was the coffee stain that endeared her to the other moms.

I'm not sure how much attention network brass pay to mothers. But when the demographic group that pays your bills tells you they want to share their morning coffee with someone who's had it slopped all over her skirt; perhaps they should listen.

Snellville resident Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect." Contact her at www.forgetperfect.com.