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December 21, 2014

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A note to Katie Couric and The CBS Evening News

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 13th 2007 7:39AM

Katie CouricKatie,

There's been a lot of talk lately about the third place ratings that The CBS Evening News continues to get. There are people saying that you aren't professional enough and that the show doesn't cover hard news the way it should. You even fired your executive producer and hired another, and then this week fired a producer for plagiarizing (and just what are those first person "Notebooks" if other people are writing them?). These are all things that you have to fix, but may I make one suggestion that might help immediately?

Don't lead your newscast with news about Don Imus on the day that there was a major bombing in Iraq.

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Can a new producer help The CBS Evening News?

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 9th 2007 2:41PM

CBS logoJoel told you yesterday about Rick Kaplan being brought on to replace Rome Hartman as the executive producer of The CBS Evening News. Kaplan is (supposedly) being brought on to replace some of the lighter touches that Katie Couric has brought to the anchor role with some harder news and a different angle (I think the first thing he should do is to just tell her to stop saying "hi, everyone" when she opens the show).

But I'm wondering, will a new producer really help? Nothing against Kaplan (or Couric), but aren't viewers choices when it comes to the network news based on other things besides a new producer (or a new set or new theme music or a new logo)? Sure, he can make wide, sweeping changes, and maybe they'll help the quality of the show (even if they don't help the ratings), but aren't viewers set in their ways? They like Brian Williams. They like Charles Gibson, and these two will battle for the #1 slot. The CBS Evening News has been third for a long, long time, and maybe that's just where it will be, getting 6-7 million viewers a night.

I hope they didn't think the star power of Couric was going to bring the show to #1 quickly, if ever.

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What were the biggest network news stories of 2006?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 4th 2007 8:01AM

David GregoryI watch a lot of television, but one thing I'd hate to do is to actually keep track of what stories are talked about the most on the three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) every night during their newscasts. Luckily, The Tyndall Report does it for me.

What were the three news stories that got the most coverage during the past year? Obviously, the war in Iraq was the No.1 story, followed by Israeli-Hezbollah fighting and the Hurrincane Katrina aftermath. The report lists the top 20 stories of 2006 (and I was very happy to see that Britney Spears' crotch is nowhere to be found on the list).

The report also lists the reporters that had the most airtime. The top three were NBC's David Gregory, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CBS' Jim Axelrod. I thought Lara Logan would be higher on the list, because I always watch her on CBS. The way her hair cascades down and her accent makes me shiver I think she's a first-rate journalist.

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Rick Kaplan going to The CBS Evening News?

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 28th 2006 4:02PM

Katie CouricThis is one of those "insider" news stories that most people won't care about one way or the other.

The New York Post's Page Six is reporting that former MSNBC head Rick Kaplan might be heading over to The CBS Evening News to help Katie Couric and her ratings. Of course, this story just says "rumored." It doesn't even have enough information to say "sources say" or "insiders say" or even "an anonymous person inside CBS." So who knows where they got the news.

Will this even help? Some people believe that the nightly network newscasts are a dinosaur, a thing of the past (I'm not one of them). Even if that's not true, maybe the CBS Evening News will just be in third place forever. That's where the show has been for a while and always will be, behind The NBC Nightly News and ABC World News.

[via TV Newser]

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I don't get the ads for The CBS Evening News

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 11th 2006 12:24PM

Katie CouricIt's been widely reported that after a first week of getting fantastic ratings, the ratings have dropped for Katie Couric's CBS Evening News. This isn't really a big surprise. Of course curious people were going to tune into the show the first week, to see how Katie did, and then as the weeks went by the show would fall back into its third place slot behind The NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News.

So what's up with the commercials for Katie's show? After a montage of her work on the show, the announcer says "More people are watching The CBS Evening News." What does that mean? Isn't that an incomplete sentence? Maybe something like "More people are watching The CBS Evening News than ever before (that wouldn't be true - the ratings are down 2% from the same period last year - but at least there wouldn't be any confusion to the meaning)? The show's ratings are down, so I'm not quite sure what's going on there. Maybe they mean "More people are watching The CBS Evening News...

  • "...than went to see the movie Gigli."
  • "...while eating cheeseburgers in their underwear."
  • "...and what we mean by "More" is the last name, the Mores. They live in Springfield, Illinois and watch the show every night."

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