Randy Tatano blogs all about the reality:
You chase the raccoons away from your car and head to the station. Oh, if you live in a cold climate, you'll have to either shovel the driveway (you don't dare crank up the snow blower and wake the neighbors), scrape your windshield, or both. What fun!
You notice birds are flying around in the middle of the night. Oh, wait. Those are bats. You wave at them. Professional courtesy.
After arriving at the station you discover your muse doesn't work nights and you try to write intelligent copy as you drink more coffee. Your co-anchor checks your copy and informs you that Reagan is no longer the President and is dead, to boot. If you're a weather person, you try to remember what state you're living in and note that all your weather cam shots are pitch dark. You start to get hungry again... didn't you already have breakfast? Or is there another name for meals eaten at three in the morning?
You notice you have put on two different colored socks, your shoes don't match, or both. READ THE REST
Tatano talks about the morning show weight gain syndrome and I experienced that first hand. I would wake up at 2am and on the way to work I stopped by Whataburger to food. My body clock was so off that I would be starving. Food and a massive Dr Peppers were the only way to fuel the engine. I was also 22 and stupid for starting my day off with a cheese burger.
I started off going to sleep when I got off my shift and then sleeping all day, eating dinner, hanging out with friends then going to work. Later I adjusted to staying up through the day and conking out early. As a person who already has sleep trouble, this was not the shift for me.
The benefits of this shift for some are that it's not as hectic in a news gathering sense as the daytime. Some markets probably hardly have any news happen overnight (although in Houston anything can happen). One Houston morning reporter I know says, "If I'm showing up in your neighborhood for my shift, something really bad happened."
Another plus...no management. The morning show staffs work in a more relaxed environment generally. Although one morning producer I know is the most hard charging, no nonsense type I have ever seen!