Thursday, April 06, 2006

Idiot Comment

It's interesting that one comment that came out in the coverage of the announcement yesterday that Katie Couric was going to take over being the CBS evening news anchor and managing editor (I can't remember if it was from CBS President Les Moonves or
Tyndall report editor Andrew Tyndall) is that any criticism of the move of Couric to a news anchor's seat represents sexism.


And, at the risk of being sexist, I certainly don't see the move working for CBS, at least in the short term. Since Bob Schieffer took over the CBS Evening News in March 2005, the broadcast has gained over 700,000 viewers. This is in an environment where pie of the news audience in the early evening is certainly not growing. So, the evening news ratings for CBS certainly won't be going up to any major degree. I'm sure that when Couric goes on next September, there will be two-three weeks of "sampling", then the novelty factor will wear off. It will also be around that time that Elizabeth Vargas could be returning from pregnancy leave to the anchor chair at World News Tonight, which is likely to result in a ratings bump for that newscast.

The question is whether Couric will maintain the audience Schieffer leaves her, or lose viewers. CBS News will have a hard time spinning maintaining audience as a success, or losing audience as not being a disaster.

The winner may be the Today Show. Apparently, Meredith Viera of The View and NBC are close to announcing a deal, so the Today Show may not miss a beat. If the deal with Viera falls through, Ann Curry, or maybe Campbell Brown, can move over. Not all has been happy at NBC with Couric there, so it may be addition by substraction.

Does Couric have the "chops" to be a network news anchor? It's hard to tell based on her experience on the Today Show. She has the stuff to grow into the job. Whether time is a luxury that CBS has is another question.


Blogger Jenny S-G said...

I agree with you, Rod. My reaction to the announcement of Couric was, "ugh." I should say that the feminist in me is glad to see a female anchor. But the news hound in me worries that she's too "fluffy" to do and understand serious news. I'll be one of those "sampling" when she takes over the anchor desk, and I'm hoping that my initial reaction will be proven wrong.

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