Making an appearance at the daily noon CBS Evening News staff meeting today, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that despite what you've heard recently, Katie is their anchor today, tomorrow, next week, and long into the future.
Now, let's take that phrase word by word...
That's the advice the NBC newsman gave Katie Couric when she left The Today Show to take the anchor gig at The CBS Evening News in 2006.
He told her that going from a morning show like Today to a hard news anchor position was "a dive off the high board" and that it's "harder than it looks." Though I wonder if anyone gave that advice to Brokaw when he left Today to do The NBC Nightly News back in the 80s. Or maybe they didn't because he's a guy, right?
Quick answer: no.
Long answer: probably not.
It's always hard to make predictions when it comes to television. A show you think is going to bomb becomes a giant hit that produces several spinoffs (*cough* CSI *cough*). It's even harder with television news, since the landscape is changing so fast these days, with the web playing a bigger and bigger role. But that doesn't stop The Boston Herald from predicting that in five years, Fox and Friends anchor Alisyn Camerota will be asked to take over for Katie Couric on The CBS Evening News.
This must be the day for lists. First the Harris Poll says that Ellen DeGeneres is more popular than Oprah Winfrey, and now the Tyndell Report has announced their list of the 20 most heavily used reporters in 2007.
I'm not sure who I would have thought was number one, though I guess the names Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory come to mind, since they seem to be every newscast. But number one is actually ABC's Jake Tapper, who handles a lot of political reporting for the network. Gregory and Mitchell are on the list, at numbers two and three, while CBS' David Martin is fourth and Nancy Cordes fifth. Cordes is listed as being on both CBS/ABC, so I'm assuming she left CBS and went to ABC? I'm surprised to see Steve Hartman on the list, since I thought he only did the Friday night "Assignment America" series. Maybe he does other reporting.
The full list is after the jump.
"No offense to those over 60, but that's not a demo we want."
That's a quote from Les Moonves at a press conference yesterday, talking about statistics that say the average age for a viewer of the nightly network news programs is 61.
Looks like all of the younger people in the country are getting their news from the web and cable.
We've been getting a lot of wisdom and insight from our beauty pageant contestants lately. First was the solution to our lack of maps/Africa/the Iraq situation uttered so eloquently by Miss Teen South Carolina, and now we have Miss USA Rachel Smith, who explained what she wants to do with her career in front of the Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN?):
"I always wanted to be a reporter - maybe some TV. Who knows? Some serious news - but some modeling, too...I just don't want to end up like Katie Couric. I want people to take me seriously."
Much has been said about Katie Couric and her year behind the anchor's desk on The CBS Evening News (some of it by Couric herself in a controversial New York interview). But now a journalist is going to interview Couric and she's going to talk about everything that's going on with her and with the news biz in general.
Veteran newsman Marvin Kalb is going to interview Couric as part of the Kalb Report Series, which is produced by George Washington University, Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center, and The National Press Club. The interview will take place live on stage next Tuesday at The National Press Club, in front of students and members of the NPC.
I'll admit I had my doubts and might have even expressed them here, but in reality, I think she's doing fine. She can't do anything about the ratings, and the show was in third place long before Couric took over. As Bill Maher said when he was asked at the time how Couric was going to do, "I think she'll read the teleprompter fine." And she's done a fine job. Sure, there were some odd growing pains, like addressing the audience by saying "Hi everyone," the "Picture of the Week" and "First Person" segments that were dropped, and it looked a while there like they were going to end each episode by showing her legs, but the show has gotten a lot better.
I used to dislike Shepard Smith. Not because he was on FOX News, but for the way he anchored the news. It was as if he was skipping whole words or something, making these short, declarative sentences, and it was hard to listen to him for a long period of time. But my view of him has softened the last couple of years (and will continue to if he keeps being this funny). He also doesn't seem to just automatically spew the network's line at the drop of a hat.
TV Guide's Stephen Battaglio has an interview with Smith about the new look and direction for his show. Among other topics, Smith talks about why CBS and Katie Couric quickly went back to a traditional newscast, why the news industry might be dying, and the possibility of hosting one of the presidential debates. He also says they're not going to do "more crap...we're not going to do more titillating [stories], Hollywood movie reviews and jokes."
[via TV Newser]
Doing the news can't be easy. It's a lot more than just reading the teleprompter, especially when you do it live. The really good anchors make it look easy and the merely competent ones make it look hard (but you feel for them). It's the really bad ones that make you cringe and throw something at the TV (or change the channel). Not only are they incompetent when it comes to skills, they have an off-putting air about them. At best they are anchors who should be reporters and not sit in an anchor chair.
I've picked the three very worst ones I can find on TV right now. And just so we're clear, I'm talking about news people who read the news or anchor. So you won't see show hosts like Nancy Grace or Bill O'Reilly here. And I'm concentrating on national anchors, not local ones. There's not enough space on the web to do one on local anchors. Though I'd love to do one on Boston anchors some day.
1. Rick Sanchez (CNN): Do I really have to explain why he's #1? OK...
Lots of changes this week in the land of TV news:
- Liz Claman is leaving CNBC. She was going to renew her contract, but decided she wanted to go some place else. She has to wait 90 days, however, because of a non-compete clause in her contract. She's been with the financial network for almost 10 years. I remember Claman from her days on Channel 7 in Boston.
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.
In an attempt to figure out how Charlie Gibson has been able to power his ABC World News Tonight past the previously dominant NBC Nightly News in the ratings for 10 of the past 14 weeks, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz credited Gibson's "relaxed style" and willingness to go with his gut.
For example, on Tuesday night after controversial religious leader Jerry Falwell died, Gibson decided not to lead his broadcast with Falwell's death, unlike NBC and CBS. "[T]he decision underscored the extent to which Gibson is firmly in control at what recently emerged as the top-rated evening newscast," Kurtz wrote.
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