Most people think the Nielson ratings only apply to primetime programming; however, this is a complete fallacy. Network news plays a frequently forgotten but always important role itself. A few days ago the final May Sweep totals were announced, and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty for ‘CBS Evening News With Katie Couric.’
According to Variety, the perky anchorwoman managed an average of just 6.1 million viewers. That’s the lowest Tiffany network total since they began tracking the news in 1991! ABC’s ‘World News With Charlie Gibson’ led the way with 7.95 Million, while NBC’s ‘Nightly News With Brian Williams’ narrowly finished second with 7.3 Million people tuning in. Gibson’s victory gives the crown to ABC for the first time since Peter Jennings finished first in 1996.
Let me try and put this is as simplistically as I can. Dan Rather was a complete unquestioned failure. He lost a large percentage of Walter Cronkite’s enormous audience within a few years and ended up retiring, almost completely disgraced last May. Katie Couric makes Rather’s tumultuous tenure seem like a gift from God. Thus far, her short stint has been marked by an inability to read the teleprompter, proven plagiarism, and an increased emphasis on soft news.
So why do people hate Katie Couric so much? The vast majority of American viewers do not want to hear about the war in Iraq from the confused cheerleader who doesn’t seem to understand the weight or importance of what she is saying. Add that to her propensity to run human interest stories, and I would be shocked if she was still working at CBS during next year’s May sweeps. Look for the ratings battle to increasingly become a two man race between Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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