Wednesday, September 06, 2006

CBS News: The Couric Era. (How Long Will It Last?)

With a 9.1 rating and a 17 share , Katie Couric kicked off a new era in the CBS News department, easily topping ABC and NBC by a large margin. Much of this is most likely due to the curiosity factor. Many people wanted to see what the new format would look like, and how she would perform in her new role.

Time will tell if the viewers will continue to tune in. Once the hype and the hooplah dies down, the pattern of viewership will be easier to gauge.

I am reminded of what an old sergeant I had in the Army thirty years ago had told me about his experience, when he had arrived at Basic Training. He said the Post Commander and many of the upper echelon of officers for that installation were there. People from the local community were also in attendance. There was even a band present, for the celebration.

The General spoke, as well as a few others in the chain of command. The band played on cue. But behind the podium, there were 10-15 drill instructors standing at parade rest, showing no emotion and not moving a muscle the entire time. It seemed like an exciting occasion, worthy of the fanfare and attention.

After the brief ceremony, the senior drill instructor came to the podium and said to the trainees, something to the effect of the following:

Look around you. The General and his entourage have left. The civilians have all left. The band has packed up and gone home.

And they have left you with us.

After his ever so short inventory of those left in attendance, all of the drill instructors that had been standing quietly and still through it all, came out of those statuesque poses and unleashed an unholy fury on all that remained, the trainees.

So, after the curiosity seekers go home and the newness has worn off, Katie will be left with her critics and whatever dedicated viewership, she is able to garner from the early fanfare. Time will tell how she will do.

Some critics are already out and slamming the newscast. Take a look at Andrea Peyser's critique in the NY Post, this morning.

KATIE COURIC last night underwent her second on-air colonoscopy.

Watching the procedure was not a horribly painful event. Nor was it an experience I would volunteer to repeat any time soon.

If you read the rest of the piece, know that it does not get any better, after that opening statement.

Not as harsh, but, still critical was what came from the Washington Post.
One wants to wish her well on the basis of her tremendous charm, but opening night left acres and acres of room for improvement.

That's the industry for you. They eat their young. Except she's not a youngster, she has been co-anchor of Today for many years. But this is different, this is the bigtime.

Using this combination of anchor and format change, just may be the ticket for CBS to dig out of the hole they created for themselves, when they allowed Dan Rather to run it into the ground by being a loose cannon toward the end of his career. Maybe by adding the free speech segment, they can reject their openly biased past.

But then again, it might not.


All_I_Can_Stands said...

As for ratings it is all downhill from here. There will probably be a second wave of the curious tonight: to see if it was as bad the critics are saying.

LASunsett said...

Who knows? You might be right.