Friday, March 9, 2007

Katie Couric: $15 million a year and not good enough

Last month the ratings for the evening news were released and CBS's Katie Couric was not able to gain her network the number one spot which many at CBS thought would be a no-brainer. There were many reports in the days that followed stating that this was possibly due to the fact that she was a woman and evening news viewers were simply not ready for a female anchor woman. That seemed to be the only justification that many at the time could muster. I had planned on blogging about it but got caught up in other issues that seemed more pressing. I felt then and still feel now that the reason for Couric's decline has little to do with her gender and more to do with her lack of experience. (Read about it here)

Take a step back and think of the scenarios in which we have seen Couric over the years. She did very little hard journalism to be perfectly honest. She was regularly part of the NBC parade brigade, the Olympics and her obvious long time post at the Today Show and the like. But we are accustom to seeing her doing segments that involved soft topics with guest interviews that allowed Katie to flash her smile, laugh and be America's girl. We have followed her relationship with Kevin Costner and raving over her selection of evening gowns and outfits at various charity and Hollywood style events. She has not proven herself as a hard-nosed journalist to the American people. A five minute segment with a politician on the Today Show is not hard journalism, it's orchestrated fluff.

We have watched her play around in an innocent yet flirting manner with Matt Lauer and just about every male to grace the Today Show set. Now, she has toned down on the amount of skin she exposes at any public appearance she makes, suddenly wanting America to take her seriously yet I doubt it will ever happen.

It was announced yesterday that CBS has hired an image guru for Katie Couric, a well known executive producer Rick Kaplan whose resume includes former president of CNN and MSNBC and onetime executive producer of ABC's "World News Tonight" and "Nightline". Here is more on Kaplan and his past Clinton connections. Sailor in the Desert seems to think that Kaplan may be having Couric do some shill work for Clinton. Very Interesting! Kaplan will replace Rome Hartman who reportedly wanted a change of scenary regardless. Kaplan will have his work cut out for him as the above cited Washington Post article states;

..the shake-ups reflect the growing intensity of a ratings war in which millions of dollars in advertising revenue are at stake. ABC's "World News" with Charlie Gibson has seized the ratings lead from Brian Williams's NBC broadcast in three of the past four weeks. Gibson drew 9.56 million viewers last week, Williams 9.39 million, and Couric 7.51 million.

Kaplan will have approximately two million viewers the earn for CBS. Honestly, I do not think this is the right move for the network. No matter how much polish you give to Katie Couric, America will never be able to shake the school girl image we have of her.

If CBS is hell-bent on having a female anchor, I am sure there are better choices out there. Deborah Norville comes to mind as well as some of the more conservative anchors out there. Yet getting a conservative to jump ship into the waters at CBS might prove more difficult than gaining two million viewers for Couric.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

I am prety sure she worked on the Today Show at NBC. GMA was Gibson's gig.

A Proud Infidel said...

Thanks for the correction. Post has been edited to reflect your comments. I appreciate it.


A Proud Infidel said...
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A Proud Infidel said...
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