The resurrection of “God’s” voice

TV Week has published an editorial in support of the apparent CBS decision to permanently replace Dan Rather with a single anchor instead of something else. The commentary is actually titled, The Wisdom of the ‘Voice of God’. Oh my.

Les Moonves said a year ago that the single anchor might be an approach whose time had come and gone, but when Sean McManus took over the reins of CBS News, he apparently felt otherwise. He told critics last week that he didn’t see any reason to break the mold. “I think that having one person as your primary anchor is the way to go,” he said.

TV Week says, “We applaud the decision,” but they do not tell us why. Historically, dual anchors don’t work, the magazine claims, but Moonves’ statements of a year ago — and Andrew Heywood’s amplifying comments (here and here) — didn’t suggest a dual anchor combo was the way to go. It was the “Voice of God” concept that both felt was one of the reasons people were turning away from the nightly network newscast. TV Week apparently disagrees with that:

…there is much to be said for a single person as the face of a network news operation, a person viewers turn to-for authoritative reporting and for comfort-when crises arise.
The real problem for all news is that new habits have formed — and are forming — that don’t include sitting in front of the television set on somebody else’s schedule in order to be informed. Sean McManus is a smart guy, and I can’t believe he’d bet the ranch on wholeheartedly embracing the “Voice of God” model. It’s an insult to common sense and an affront to anyone who has moved beyond the top-down model to news as a conversation.

Will it help CBS News in the shrinking pond? Perhaps, but that depends on who they end up recruiting. Will it bring people back to network news? Absolutely not. This is what Heywood (and Moonves, by proxy) was saying, not the silly notion that a dual anchor team is the way to go.

TV Week, we expect better from you than this.

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