Katie’s back on the bottom

Katie Couric is back where she and the CBS Evening News show she anchors belongs: On the bottom of the ratings pile.

Her much-hyped debut as the new anchor started out at Number 1 a week ago but ratings fell steadily during the week. On Monday, she and the newscast were in familiar territory: Number 3 among the three major television networks.

Writes Peter Johnson in USA Today:

Katie Couric kicked off this week in territory unfamiliar to her but familiar to the CBS Evening News: Her broadcast finished in third place Monday.

Last week, in the first few days after the former Today star’s much-hyped debut as anchor, Evening News dominated both NBC Nightly News and ABC World News in the ratings.

But on Monday — a big news day because of the fifth anniversary of 9/11 — viewers returned NBC Nightly News to its regular first-place berth. Nightly News drew 8.3 million viewers, followed by World News with 7.9 million and CBS with 7.5 million. (By comparison, when she premiered Sept. 5, Couric drew 13.6 million viewers.)

During the lead-up to Couric’s launch, executives from the three networks predicted viewers would sample the newscasts in coming weeks, that early ratings could fluctuate and that clear lines might not be drawn for months, because viewer habits change slowly.

“It’s just one day,” ABC World News producer Jon Banner says. “I think there will be sampling for some time to come.” NBC News had no comment.

CBS News president Sean McManus says he’s not concerned with Monday’s loss and plans no immediate changes on the broadcast, although some are probably inevitable because CBS is experimenting. “To start to jump to conclusions after one week I don’t think is very prudent,” McManus says.

An examination of the Evening News‘ content by network news analyst Andrew Tyndall shows the broadcast under Couric has featured less hard news than Nightly or World News and more features, interviews and commentary.

Tyndall says features, interviews and commentary took up 74 minutes on the Evening News last week, compared with 51 on Nightly News and 44 on World News. According to Tyndall, CBS’ newscast had 19 minutes of hard news, compared with 44 on NBC and 46 on ABC. Tyndall says he had expected interviews and commentary “to come at the expense of features,” but that it turned out they “were in addition to features. That was a surprise.”

Says McManus: “We have said that we want to offer more context and perspective to the news. If that’s not considered ‘hard news’ by critics, so be it.”

17 Responses to "Katie’s back on the bottom"

  1. Denise Calhoun  September 15, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    All I have to say is
    BRING BACK BOB Schieffer. Put Katie with Regis or the ever biased “The view” where she can shine. Keep her away from the news and here cotton candy coated views. Go back to Disneyland Katie!

  2. Dee H.  September 16, 2006 at 1:33 am

    No surprise. When I first heard KC was taking over CBS Evening News, I was appalled. Kept cautioning myself to give them/her the benefit of the doubt. Now there is no doubt: this is another manifestation of News-as-entertainment. We are no longer supposed to be expecting facts from our evening news. We’re supposed to be lulled into submissiveness with the electronic equivalent of the Roman circus. No thank you.

  3. Julia  September 18, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    It’s not just KC’s fault. We just refuse to watch the “Pressitutes” in their propaganda BS.

  4. Denise Calhoun  September 18, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    I guess in the scheme of things, the media has been lying to the American people for so long that even Pee Wee Herman would be a feasible alternative.
    Unfortunately they stuck us with Katie.
    By the way, Where did Bob go? Has he retired. I am livid that they never gave him a proper send off.
    We still love you Bob.

  5. Rev. Shirley Mattson  September 18, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    Maybe Couric is dismal. I don’t know. BUT to say that all women newspeople are dismal is prejudice and not a critique.

  6. Rev. Shirley Mattson  September 18, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Maybe Couric is dismal. I don’t know. BUT to say that all women newspeople are dismal is prejudice and not a critique.

  7. Denise Calhoun  September 19, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    Dear Shirley
    I don’t think anyone said that all women newspeople are dismal. Can you show me that comment?
    We were talking about KC not all women reporters.

  8. R.A. Cormier  September 21, 2006 at 4:14 am

    Is Katie the “New Coke” of Network News? Bring back Bob Schieffer. (Or to borrow from Johnny Cash)Bill or George! Anything but Katie!

  9. liz  September 14, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    I watched Katie’s first night. I never heard any news. Since I do not have cable and do not sit and get 24 hour news blasted at me all day, I really would like some news and not a “Katie show” all about legs, and silliness and show. I had been watched Bob Schieffer and gotten to like ole Bob. Katie is a sorry replacement excuse that will serve to only as she said herself ” illuminate the news ” into the Katie unreal world dimension. When TV TALKS ABOUT TUSKEGEE part two BORRELIAI watched Katie’s first night. I never heard any news. Since I do not have cable and do not sit and get 24 hour news blasted at me all day, I really would like some news and not a “Katie show” all about legs, and silliness and show. I had been watched Bob Schieffer and gotten to like ole Bob. Katie is a sorry replacement excuse that will serve to only as she said herself ” illuminate the news ” into the Katie unreal world dimension. When TV TALKS ABOUT TUSKEGEE part two BORRELIA

  10. cincigal  September 14, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    What was CBS thinking?Dont they have anyone to report the news?This is the heighth of ridiculousness.Katie Couric is an airhead.Where is Dan Rather?CBS allowed the Bush Junta to ruin the best news REPORTER they ever had.I will not be watching CBS news as long as this joker is on.

  11. Bill Robinson  September 14, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Why the surprise? She always was FOS–full of self. Did y’all expect some change?

  12. mr.ed  September 14, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    She has no chops. Not a reporter or even a journalist, a hopeless naif newsreader who moved up from intern. There are thousands of real working newspeople who’d do this better for less. The names Amanpour and Logan come to mind immediately. It’s too late to use her real name, Katherine to lend an aura of legitimacy.

  13. keith  September 14, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Who cares? And why is such “fluff” even considered “news”?

    As I’ve said in another post this morning here on Capitol Hill Blue, the largely ignorant American voting public now seems FAR more concerned about who the next American Idol will be rather than who the next President will be.

    And continually passing such “fluff” and air headed entertainment happenings off as “news” here and elsewhere simply contributes to the ongoing “dumbing-down” and growing systemic ignorance of our nation.

  14. Renee  September 14, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    When I first heard the Katie Couric was going to be doing the evening news, I just rolled my eyes. She is too much of a fluffball to be doing hard news. CBS should have wandered out of the box and little and, if they wanted to set precedent with a woman, drafted somebody like Norah O’Donnell or one of the other lesser-known journalists that work on cable news. There are lots of women out there more credible than Little Miss Couric. Interestingly, I think Meredith Vierra is going to be lots more successful in Katie’s old spot than Katie will be in her new one.

  15. Joy E. W.  September 14, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    Soft news, features–maybe okay in the morning, but by evening, we want the real stuff. I feel like a raised Katy–but, Honey, you’re a big girl now. Act (and report) like it.
    Joy

  16. Doug Miller  September 15, 2006 at 12:13 am

    Ms. Katie…, Your hands are tied, you can only report what the bosses tell you…and you know what – they’re lying to you and the American people. And we know it…

  17. ABC Psych  September 15, 2006 at 6:05 am

    Katie represents all that has gone wrong with prime time “news”. BTW Dan Rather was not the greatest journalist CBS ever had. You just have to be older than dust to remember the really great journalists.

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