Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Let Me be the Last to Report

...that "perky" Katie Couric is leaving the Today Show to become the new anchor of the CBS Evening News. By my calendar, Ms. Couric's depature comes roughly years after another Today host jumped ship to anchor an evening news program. And we all know what happened to Barbara Walters.

However, unlike Ms. Walters, Couric apparently won't have a grouchy co-anchor to contend with. Ms. Couric is leaving a dominant morning program for an evening newscast that is dead last in the ratings, and has only a fraction of the audience it had in the mid-1980s. Moreover, her prospects for turning that around are slim, at best. With the advent of cable news channels, the internet and blogs, Americans are increasingly discarding the network evenings newscasts as an information source. Making matters worse, virtually all of CBS's owned-and-operated stations, located in major markets like New York, Chicago and L.A., are also laggards; their local newscasts won't provide much of a lead-in for Ms. Couric and her version of the Evening News.

Not that it really matters. The network evening newscasts are dinousaurs, doomed to extinction in a rapidly changing media environment. Couric may very well go down in broadcast history and the first female anchor and the last anchor of the CBS Evening News, at least in the traditional sense. Enjoy the new gig, Katie--while it lasts.

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