Couric Bombs, CBS News Ratings In The Tank

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Oct 11, 2006.

    Couric in an unfamiliar place — 3rd

    CBS Evening News
    (John P Filo / EPA)

    By Matea Gold, Times Staff Writer

    NEW YORK — Five weeks into her tenure at the "CBS Evening News," Katie Couric's broadcast continues to slip in the ratings, falling into third place last week for the second week in a row.

    With an average of 7.04 million viewers, Couric's audience last week was the smallest she'd had since taking over the evening news anchor desk, and it's lower than the number that tuned in for her predecessor Bob Schieffer's last week on the air in late August, according to Nielsen Media Research.

    Meanwhile, the Brian Williams-led "NBC Nightly News" appears to be regaining its first-place standing, attracting an average of 8.54 million viewers last week and beating out the competition for the third week in a row. ABC anchor Charles Gibson's "World News" took second place again, with almost 7.98 million viewers.

    CBS News executives emphasized that Couric's newscast has brought in more people than the broadcast did at this time last year — particularly younger viewers — while both NBC and ABC have smaller audiences compared with then. CBS drew fewer 25- to 54-year-olds last week than its competitors, but the newscast did see a spike of 19% in that demographic, which advertisers target on television news, compared with the same week a year ago.

    "In my mind, as long as that trend line continues the way it is, I'm satisfied that we're making the kind of progress I want," said CBS News President Sean McManus. "Who did the best week-to-week is of less concern to me than long-term growth."

    McManus said that CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves is "very pleased" with the newscast's performance, adding that the network chief's only suggestions have been cosmetic ones.

    "He thinks we're accomplishing exactly what we want to be," McManus said.

    But the falloff of the former "Today" show anchor's audience since her debut has provoked a strong sense of unease internally, according to newsroom employees. Many are alarmed that the program isn't faring better, especially after a massive marketing push this summer that included radio spots and bus ads.

    "You've got to ask the question whether CBS was wise to spend all that energy on publicity and promotion when they had a new product," said network news analyst Andrew Tyndall. "You can't retool a newscast like that and get it right from Day One."

    Some of the staff have privately expressed concerns about changes to the broadcast, particularly a segment called "Free Speech," a platform for opinions from around the country.

    Last week, executive producer Rome Hartman received strong protests from the newsroom after airing a commentary by Brian Rohrbough, the father of a student slain at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999. In addressing recent school shootings in Colorado and Pennsylvania, Rohrbough said the public schools have taught students in a "moral vacuum" by emphasizing evolution and keeping religion out of the classroom.

    Critics complained the opinion piece was not relevant to the current tragedies, especially since the most recent shooting happened at an Amish school.

    Hartman, who said he was surprised by the topic Rohrbough chose to address, said he nevertheless didn't believe it would have been "in keeping with the spirit of the segment" to ask him to change the piece.

    The executive producer called the feedback from newsroom employees "a very healthy conversation." Although the intense scrutiny of the broadcast's performance is "a little bit distracting" for staffers, Hartman said, the mood internally was upbeat. "It's a little frustrating that people treat what is our beginning as if it was some kind of end. These things take a long time to change."

    In the last month, longtime leader NBC has steadily regained its advantage over the other two newscasts. "Nightly News" executive producer John Reiss said, "We knew there would be a lot of sampling in the early days, and it stood to reason that a disproportionate amount would come from us." He noted that many NBC viewers were likely already Couric fans. "I think they're coming back to us, and we're very gratified."

    For its part, ABC attracted the most 25- to 54-year-old women in the last month, a demographic many expected would flock to Couric.

    "This thing has not completely shaken itself out yet," said "World News" executive producer Jon Banner. "We have a lot of work to do, and we're not going to be satisfied until we're No. 1."
  2. They can say what they want, but it's clear that CBS is in full panic mode over how badly Couric has bombed. It shows how out of touch the aging liberals who run these networks are that they thought putting Couric in the once-respected anchor chair would rescue their discredited show. You don't wipe the stain of Dan Rather off that quickly.

    Interestingly, Couric is now posting worse numbers than old warhorse Bob Schiefer did during his fill in stint when they were forced to get Rather off the air. Since CBS put on an all out ad and marketing blitz for Couric, this has to be disheartening news. Leave it to the show's staffers to put the blame on the one original thought, the "talk back" segment where they let people spout off. Although many of them have been incoherent, at least it gets them alittle buzz now and then, such as when the Columbine dad asked for God to be let back into public schools. Katie had to go on her blog and ask for tolerance for such remarks, which she obviously was mortified to be associated with.

    When you see disasters like this, it just reinforces how biased the major media are. They would rather go broke than stray from their liberal kool aid. Considering the remarkable success of Fox News, any fool would know the way to distinguish a news show would be to have a moderately conservative anchor and be somewhat objective.
  3. Maybe they should get Rosie O'Donnell and Bryant Gumble to be on it, only two people more annoying that Couric. OK, I'm excluding Keith Olbermann but he doesn't really count since more people read ET than watch his show.
  4. lindq


    CBS's move to put her in their formerly respected anchor seat is the depths of what has been network TVs slide. For most of those on this site who are too young to remember, CBS used to be the gold standard of broadcast journalism.

    You can now gain more info in 2 minutes on a major internet news site than you can from an overpaid "anchor" reading a teleprompter, intercut with drug spots for an aging audience.

    In other countries they call them "newsreaders", which is an appropriate job description.

    What amazes me is that Cronkite agreed to do Couric's voiceover introduction. Poor Walter sounds like he's dying. They must have held a gun to his head.
  5. You just gave me an idea. Any possible way to get O'Donnell, Gumble, Couric, Olbermann, Stewart, Maher, Letterman and Mike Moore all on one stage at one time with 2000 armed "Freepers" and Townhall folks sitting in the audience?

  6. I'm against it. These lefties are so obnoxious and ridiculous that any reasonably intelligent third grader is repelled by them. Let's keep them front and center, along with Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Ted Turner and Barney Frank.
  7. hcour

    hcour Guest

    No surprise here. I wrote the following in another thread shortly after she took over the show:

    And speaking of Couric, watching her on CBS, am I the only one who thinks she seems kind of, well, lightweight for (supposedly) hard news? CBS made the mistake of having Walter Cronkite record the intro into the new show, this is supposed to validate Courice of course, but it really just highlights her inadequacy as a news anchor. Her squeaking speaking voice compared to Cronkite's classic pedantic delivery? Is it just me, or doesn't she sound like she's permanently hoarse? I keep wanting to offer her a cough drop and tell her to come back to work when she's over the fucking flu.

  8. There's only something like 14 women in America who I don't want to have sex with. For some reason Couric is one of them. I've no idea why. It's not like my perverse thoughts exclude perky, small titted, late 40's MILF's. I'm quite versatile. But it makes me wonder if she doesn't have a "turn-off" factor that those who like her fail to perceive?
  9. pattersb

    pattersb Guest

    You aren't alone. She looks constipated, someone get her some Exlax.
    #10     Oct 11, 2006