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.”

Comments

  1. Denise Calhoun

    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.

    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. Denise Calhoun

    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.

  4. Rev. Shirley Mattson

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

  5. Rev. Shirley Mattson

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

  6. Denise Calhoun

    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.

  7. R.A. Cormier

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