The CBS Evening News hit a 20 year ratings low last week, giving
perky – upbeat anchorperson Katie Couric the dubious honor of having surpassed one of Dan Rather’s less admirable achievements.
In fact, after hitting a low average of 6,157,000 for a week in March, Couric
topped – er, bottomed that with an average of 6,050,000 this past week. She lags some 2,000,000 viewers behind both NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Charles Gibson.
Explanations for Couric’s failure may not be so simple…
While it’s easy to point at issues like Couric’s background as a perky morning host/celebrity schmoozer on The Today Show, Charles Gibson did his own lengthy stint on morning TV as a co-host on Good Morning America. Williams, who hosted “news” programs on both MSNBC and CNBC before his elevation to evening news anchor stardom has also done his share of “fluff news” reporting.
So. Is it that the bar has been set higher for Couric because she is a woman? Some commentators think that it’s less that Couric is a woman than it is that she’s the wrong woman.
Or because she’s tried to bring some humor to the news? Some commentators certainly think so.
Whatever the problems are, they’re showing up as a lack of eyeballs. In the hyper-competitive evening news field, where the networks compete for fewer viewers with each passing month it seems, that spells trouble for Couric – and further decline for the news organization that gave us Murrow and Cronkite.