Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Katie Didn't

America has spoken, and they have done so loud and clear.

We don't want "cute and perky" delivering our news. At least not nationally.

Katie Couric will soon be bidding CBS goodbye, the nearly five-year experiment of her anchoring the CBS Evening News officially a failure.

Couric started reading the TelePrompTers for CBS in 2006, fresh off her run on the "Today" show, the only female among the three major networks who delivered the evening news during the week. The "fish out of water" move was designed to carve into the ratings gap separating CBS from their counterparts, ABC and NBC.

By that measure, the hiring of Couric was a colossal mistake for CBS.

Recent numbers put CBS's newscast at an average of 6.1 million viewers nightly, far behind ABC (8.1) and leader NBC (9.2).

Apparently when it comes to network news, it'd better be delivered by someone who isn't cute and perky, and who isn't a woman.


Couric: Cute and perky didn't do it


In fairness, Couric didn't project the same persona reading the news as she did kibitzing on "Today," but that is what many viewers must have seen when they passed her by while channel surfing: the same pixie doll whose smile lit up the morning airwaves.

For whatever reason, females anchoring the network newscast have been very few and very far between. ABC made an infamous blunder back in the mid-1970s when they partnered Barbara Walters with curmudgeon Harry Reasoner. The two of them had the same chemistry properties as oil and water when mixed.

Now, with Couric leaving when her contract expires this summer, it would be surprising if another woman was given a shot in the near future.

Don't weep for her, though. Couric is still too big a name to be unemployed for very long. In fact, the buzz is that she already has another project lined up.

Couric's departure has had a lot of "imminent" to it for at least two years, when word leaked that CBS executives were squirming in their seats because of the tepid numbers that Couric was bringing them. It's not all her fault, however; CBS's numbers were in the tank before they hired Couric.

I don't watch the news, local or national, because I find it too depressing. I read the newspaper, and the newspaper on the Internet, since I only get a paper-paper three days a week. So I'm not one to ask when it comes to, "Which network newscast do you like the best?"

Clearly, NBC has held that position on the mantel for a long time, with Brian Williams kicking everyone's rear end.

After five years and no discernible uptick in viewership, it's also clear that Couric being female, and being a perky one, didn't float a lot of boats in TV land.

We still like suits and ties and humorless when it comes to TV network news.

Ladies, you haven't come as long of a way as you think, baby!

Sadly.

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