Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Katie Couric is the new Dan Rather

After months of rumors, it's finally official. She'll be taking the helm at the CBS Evening News.

Couric will become the sole anchor and managing editor of the renamed ``CBS Evening News with Katie Couric'' starting in September, CBS Corp. said in a statement today. She replaces Bob Schieffer, 69, who took over on an interim basis in March 2005, when Dan Rather stepped down after 24 years.

That appointment may be part of a broader makeover planned by CBS to revive the network's evening newscast, which has trailed NBC and ABC in viewers for more than a decade.

``CBS hopes it will bring down the average age'' of the network's viewers, Nathan said. Advertisers covet younger viewers because they are more likely to try new products.

But nevermind that even though CBS trailed NBC and ABC, all three have ratings that continue to plummet, in part because the public is beginning to recognize the bias that the news show producers and executives still fail to admit. And as these shows' average viewer is more likely to have been alive during the Great Depression, it's definitely the smart move to try to get a younger viewer. But they're fooling themselves if they think that simply bringing in the cute cuddly Couric will do that.

More and more Americans get their news from the cable channels that do a more round table and interviews format as opposed to the NBC, ABC, CBS "here's what we think is important... you'll take it and you'll like it" approach. And since the cable news networks devote themselves to news 24/7 they can afford to do this format, whereas the big three networks have to get their sitcoms on the air as well.

More and more Americans are also turning to blogs, and the interenet in general, for news and opinions because, even if we have a biased point of view, we admit it and aren't afraid to argue for it, or admit we're wrong if the case warrants it. They need to bring in these smart opinionated people to discuss the news of the day, and give them the resources to pursue some of the same stories they pursue on their blogs. Can you imagine Captain Ed, Powerline, or Michelle Malkin with the full backing and resources of the MSM?

I just don't see the alphabet soup news networks evolving that way... not yet at least. Couric or no Couric.