Well, the last week or so has been just terrible for Katie Couric and her struggling CBS Evening News. The ratings are down to 7.3 million viewers and the critics are crucifying the show, blasting Katie and her third-place ratings.
All kinds of theories are being floated out there for why she is a big flop. There are people out there saying she was better in the morning and doesn't have the heft required for the anchor job. All the usual BS arguments. What garbage.
The true reason why the broadcast is flopping is because the CBS Evening News has turned into a gimmick-ridden newscast built solely around its star personality, Katie Couric. We aren't getting the news from this broadcast, not enough of it. We're getting Katie's supposed big get interviews with celebrities like Michael J. Fox, ranting lunatics with their waste-of-time "free speech", and a running contest to determine Katie's stupid sign-off line. The sign-off line nonsense, with Katie asking the public for help choosing her big tag line at the end of the newscast, has been the butt of jokes from stand-up comedians from coast to coast. In short, this show is an embarrassment.
What ticks me off the most is that when they were promoting this broadcast all summer they were leading us to believe that this newscast would be this big improvement. We were going to get an even better broadcast than what we were getting from Bob Schieffer and his team of globetrotting correspondents reporting in from around the world. We were expecting this broadcast was going to go from good to great. What a letdown for the news fans when they see all these gimmicks and all the other nonsense associated with this newscast.
The one thing that the bad ratings prove is that people don't tune in to an evening newscast strictly to see a "personality" or a show built around a "personality". They tune in to see a newscast. Period! The problem for CBS, though, is that they wasted a lot of money paying Katie Couric a fortune to defect from NBC, and they wasted a lot of money on promotion and the rest of it. And for what? The same crummy numbers Bob Schieffer got. People are calling this show a flop and there are stories floating around now about tension in the CBS newsroom, and so on and so forth. I've seen stories on the Net of the "how long until CBS pulls the plug on Katie Couric" variety. I read in the National Enquirer that Katie is taking the bad ratings hard and has even turned to old NBC colleague Tom Brokaw for support. The gossip columns are having a field day because of the bad ratings.
I think what CBS needs to do is revamp their newscast right now. Get rid of Free Speech and all the stupid gimmicks, and get it back to what it was doing when Bob was in the chair. Heck, that was a good broadcast, there's no reason why Katie couldn't do as good a job on a broadcast like that. But they need to do this right now, because this broadcast blows and it does CBS no good whatsoever for Katie to get trashed in print all the time because of bad ratings.
BIG TEST NEXT WEEK: THE ELECTION
Next week is a big test for all of the news organizations as they cover the US elections. It's getting a lot of buzz because this is the first election with none of the former "big 3" around in the anchor seat. So it is seen as a big test for these new anchors. Actually, one of the "big 3" will be around on election night. Tom Brokaw is going to be part of NBC's broadcast with Brian Williams and Tim Russert. So this is bound to be another situation where the Katie-haters will be all set to open fire. Stay tuned.