Katie’s inevitable descent

One week after her historic debut as anchor of CBS Evening News, Katie Couric’s program is back in third place. This was not unexpected by people who’ve been around the business for any length of time. “Anticipointment,” we used to call it — build expectations so bloody high that nobody can live up to them. This week’s numbers offer a much more realistic platform from which the network can now grow an audience.

Personal opinion here: CBS made a tactical blunder last week when it arranged an interview for Katie with President Bush and built a primetime special around it. This was hype on top of hype, when what was really needed was to step back and take a breath for a minute. But networks can’t resist the notion that you can still manipulate your way to success with relentless promos and artificial image-building. Let Katie stand on her own two legs, please. The special was so lacking in anything of significance that only a fool could’ve missed the transparency of a purely marketing effort. Why do we continue to think that the public hasn’t figured all this out? I dunno.

Now that her numbers have fallen off the table, the sniping begins in earnest. Add to that the story that she’s fired the network’s long-time health reporter and replaced her with Katie’s personal doctor and you have the recipe for a serious descent into tabloid hell.


  1. I have been asking myself the same question a lot lately. When will TV people, especially the marketing and promotions departments, realize that the old tricks are just that — old! So much of what they do is a cliché and wreaks of manipulation. It is unbearable. I can’t watch local TV news anymore because it tends to be the worst offender.

  2. Hi Terry–just got back from a much-needed vacation and noticed this post…as a longtime tv watcher, I’m not surprised to see this happen. There continue to be some inconsistencies in the Evening News that are a bit annoying–mainly that it seems to have the air of a three-ring media circus of infotainment than a news program. On one night I watched, the lead story was something on a manhut for a killer–which IMO and the O’s of others, isn’t really what we watch the evening news for.…

    Neither is Morgan Spurlock and other FreeSpeechers–as entertaining as they might be, we prefer them at latenight…

    Further, there seemed to be something off about who the target audience should be. The format seemed to some of us to appeal to young people, but the commercials were aimed for those middle aged and older. Maybe CBS is courting the Oprah/Dr. Phil set, but I’m not sure that’s a viable news demographic.

    Basically, there’s alot of fluff, not alot of substance.…which is not an antidote to the nasty-mouthed nonsense of the Nancy Graces, Michelle Malkins, Bill O’Reillys and Glen Becks out there. Guess I’m just stuck watching Jim Lehrer.…which is kind of like preferring Dragnet to Police Woman.

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