As Katie Couric's tenure as anchor of the CBS Evening News draws to a close, the question remains: what went wrong? Why couldn't the former Today show host break the broadcast out of its last place ratings rut? In the hours before her final broadcast, we present some of the more promising theories.
She was too sunny! Viewers don't want happy anchors. They want an anchor who is serious, sober, and thorough. It didn't even matter that Couric was all those things, says network TV analyst Andrew Tyndall. He tells the Los Angeles Times' James Rainey that under Couric, CBS outpaced ABC and NBC in minutes spent on hard news news stories. It didn't matter, writes Rainey. She could never shake the "morning-lite" image of Today.
She wasn't 60 Minutes! Her own network is taking the position that Couric's Evening News was too fluffy. At CBS upfronts yesterday, her image was noticeable absent from promotion material. Even Anderson Cooper made it into a montage, notes Brian Stelter. When he took the stage, chairman Jeff Fager promised advertisers that the Evening News would have "new energy and a new direction" under Scott Pelley. But what sort of new direction? Narrating his sizzle reel, Pelley offered a clue: "What if you could watch a program that had the integrity, reporting and insight of 60 Minutes every weeknight? Well now you can.”