Katie Couric and 'CBS Evening News.' Is it time for them to part ways?
Katie Couric may be leaving when her contract is up in June. Ratings for 'CBS Evening News' are down, but not everyone says it's her fault. Where would she go next? And who would take over?
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“Her chattiness in the morning worked fine with that audience, but evening news viewers want a solid news agenda from somebody who is credible and perceived as a solid journalist. It was hard for Couric to make that transition after years of morning features and dressing up in Halloween costumes, and so forth.”Skip to next paragraph
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Prof. McCall says a lesson for the journalistic community to learn here is that you can’t make network news shows personality-driven. “That can work well on cable television prime time, as evidenced by shows like ‘The O'Reilly Factor,’ ” he says, “but network flagship newscasts need seasoned reporters and a seriousness that Couric couldn't deliver.”
Affection for network newscast
Robert Thompson, founder of the Bleier Center of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, says the Couric episode has confirmed the affection for and stability of the network evening newscast. No matter who would take over for her – Scott Pelley, Harry Smith, and John Roberts have been mentioned as possibilities – the classic format has survived.
“In an odd sort of way, the old-fashionedness of the evening news is coming around again and might be looked on as avante garde,” says Thompson. “When all the smoke clears, the evening news will look pretty much like is it has looked since the mid-'50s. The fact remains that even though numbers are way down for all three broadcasts, they are down for just about everything else as well.”
“This is not a reflection of her inabilities, but rather the marketplace,” he says. He notes that a lot of other important indicators are down as well, citing the low ratings of Irish journalist Piers Morgan, who took over the popular “Larry King Live” on CNN in October.
It’s time to stop using an old media model in a new media world, says Paul Levinson, author of “New New Media.” “The time is no longer right for her or any news anchor’s huge success,” he says, adding that the era of the iconic, Walter Cronkite-style news anchor is over.