nbc nightly news
We told you a couple of weeks ago that Brian Williams is going to host Saturday Night Live on November 3. But what if Katie Couric hosted instead?
That's the intriguing question asked by TV critic Ed Bark, who wonders if talk about Couric not having enough "gravitas" to host a nightly network news show will now go away. How can her detractors say that now that Williams is crossing over the line that separates the news division and the entertainment division?
Williams has dipped in the ratings lately, falling behind Charlie Gibson at ABC. Hosting SNL will no doubt get him some attention on the 24-hour news channels (if he's good). But, is this the way to do it? Going on SNL will allow people to see Williams' funnier side (he shows it off on The Daily Show occasionally), but will it compromise his respect as an anchor man? I wonder whether any topics are completely off-limits. He might be willing to take a shot at Katie Couric, but what about President Bush? I'm guessing he'll be drawing a line somewhere... or not, if he's really that desperate for ratings.
All this talk about Katie Couric's low ratings, how people don't like her, her New York interview, etc, etc. But did you know that she's actually the highest paid of the three nightly network news anchors?
Couric makes around $15 million a year. Over at NBC, Brian Williams is making around $10 million a year. Charlie...sorry, Charles Gibson? He has the most buzz right now but he actually makes the least, around $8 million a year. He didn't get a raise (nor did he want one) when he made the jump from Good Morning America to ABC World News (though I assume he'll get one when his contract is renewed in two years). He says the money thing is "irrelevent." Well, it would be to me too if I was getting $8 million a year.
So here we go again: yet more ammunition for the "Katie is bad, Charles is good" crowd.
[via TV Newser]
CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric says that she's not sure she would have made the move from NBC if she knew she'd be doing the type of show she is doing right now.
In a New York interview, Couric says that understands that viewers hate change and that they tried to change too many things in the first couple of months that she was there, but that she's not sure she would have taken the gig if she knew it would end up as the same traditional network news show. She says there are days she wishes she hadn't taken it. She even hints that if it doesn't turn out to be the job for her, "I'll do something else that's really exciting and fulfilling for me."
I bet her CBS bosses are thrilled with those type of comments.
All this talk about how Katie Couric is single-handedly destroying network news (supposedly) overlooks one fact: she's actually losing less viewers than Brian Williams over on NBC.
Couric lost 287,000 viewers over the first 39 weeks of her show compared to what the show did last year, and during that same time, Williams lost 533,000. He's now in second place behind ABC and Charles Gibson.
Of course, it doesn't mean that everyone who is leaving NBC or CBS is going over to ABC and Gibson. I think it's an indication of what's going on with network news in general (and NBC in particular).
Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather has some harsh words for the show and Katie Couric.
Rather was on MSNBC, talking to Joe Scarborough (he's in Imus' spot in the morning right now) via phone. Although he said that Couric is a nice person, he also said that the show has been "dumbing it down, tarting it up," and that they're really focusing too much on celebrity coverage now.
That's the opinion of New York Post columnist Cindy Adams.
Besides the hype and media attention and marketing mistakes made by CBS, Adams thinks that it's Couric's voice is turning off viewers. That regular network news viewers want the stronger, deeper voice of a male anchor like Charles Gibson or Brian Williams.
NBC is trying to save money everywhere.
Longtime Dateline host Stone Phillips is being let go by the network, for money reasons. Phillips' current co-host, Ann Curry, will continue to do the show. I guess NBC wants someone in there who is already under contract and does other stuff at the network. Curry is the newsreader on The Today Show too. She'll be joined by various NBC reporters as rotating co-hosts.
No word on what Phillips will do now. I wonder why they didn't just keep him on and have him do other things at the network and MSNBC? Maybe he didn't want to, who knows.
A roundup of people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away.
- Anne Pitoniak: She was a character actress who appeared on several TV shows over the years. She had a recurring role as Irene on Third Watch and guest starred on other shows including Law and Order: SVU, Becker, ER (she played Ruth Johnson in the "Good Luck, Ruth Johnson" episode), Cheers, Hill Street Blues, After MASH, and The Equalizer. She's probably best known for her work on stage in night, Mother and Picnic. She was nominated for a Tony Award for each role. She died of cancer in NYC at age 85.
In ratings, that is.
We told you recently about the Peacock Network getting its lowest Thursday ratings since 1987 - an average of 6.8 million viewers for the week two weeks ago - but they've already topped that. Or should be say bottomed that, averaging only 6.2 million viewers during last week's rating period.
NBC says that viewers are down on all the networks by about 10%, but I think that's just spin. I mean, there aren't many NBC shows in the top 20 and only a couple of shows that people even talk about. NBC still leads in the evening news and late night races, but that's probably small consolation.
It's really too bad, considering NBC has two of the best shows (Heroes and The Office) on the the four nets, but then again they've dumped a bunch of the best too.
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.
Joel 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.
So, do you still watch the network news at night?
I watch it, but not every night. I usually channel surf and watch one of the news broadcasts or maybe a repeat of Will and Grace or Seinfeld if there's a good episode on. But there are still a lot of people who watch the broadcasts (mostly an older demographic, judging from the ads they run), and it looks like ABC's World News is hot right now. The show will win the February sweeps ratings for the first time since November 2001 (in both total viewers and the 25 to 54 demo), and while Gibson's show has gained 60,000 viewers, The NBC Nightly News has lost an average of 570,000.
Oh, and rumor has it that Katie Couric does a newscast over on CBS too.
Well, that's not entirely true. This post by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is more about Fat Tuesday and New Orleans, but those two phrases just didn't fit into the whole letter "B" thing I had going.
But he does mention Britney Spears and the court hearings about Anna Nicole Smith's body and her baby:
"Viewer warning: there will be no mention of Britney Spears' baldness or rehab in tonight's broadcast, nor will there be any mention of Anna Nicole's "body possession" hearing."
Ha. That's great to hear, though I wonder if he can promise that for every broadcast. I'm sure when the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby is finally revealed and/or there is a funeral for Smith, it will be mentioned. (Plus you can get tons of coverage over on MSNBC.)
But "The Daily Nightly" is a good TV news blog, with posts by not only Williams but other NBC reporters as well.
TV Newser reports that NBC News will begin shooting in HD beginning sometime next year, and that NBC Nightly News will be going high def starting next month. The other major networks, including NBC, also offer select shows in the HD format, and some local news affiliates also broadcast in HD.
I don't consider myself a technophobe, but all this talk of high definition ties my head in knots. I actually found a decent primer for HD virgins like myself on CNET, which is worth checking out if you're interested in making the jump to HD, which involves a lot more than simply purchasing an HD or plasma television set.
I also know a lot of our readers rock the HD, so share your wisdom in the comments for those of us who aren't quite so hip to this crazy new technology.
[via Lost Remote]
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