‘Splain Katie to me, Lucy

Comment is Free at the Guardian asked me explain this Katie Couric fussmuss to folks on that side of the world.

  • http://www.tyndallreport.com Andrew Tyndall

    Jeff –

    Spell check time. It’s “Schieffer” and “Vieira” and The View is mornings not afternoons.

    I think the nuance that you overlooked for our English friends is that the impetus to hire Couric, by all accounts, came from CBS Entertainment (Les Moonves) not CBS News (Sean MacManus).

    The concept of throwing money at a celebrity to solve a ratings problem is better characterized as a solution beloved of broadcast television generally rather than broadcast television news, specifically. Indeed that mentality has gone out of favor with the passing of the Roone Arledge era, as the fragmentation of audiences has diluted the economies of scale necessary to justify superstar salaries.

    In this sense, CBS News’ decision to hire Couric looks like an anachronism by the current standards of broadcast journalism. Furthermore, if the future of the network news divisions lies in their ability to distribute their content across multiple platforms, of which broadcast is to be only one component, we can expect that content to be increasingly unbundled, as viewers will be able to pick their own stories to watch.

    In such a format, it is not clear what precisely the job of an anchor will be anyway — let alone a superstar anchor — since the anchor’s role is quintessentially that of a bundler (in my opinion talk of an omniscient role is cliched and inaccurate; a straw man to be avoided).

    Regards

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    great ending to that peice Jeff.

    but a few things:

    Rather was not ridden out on a rail. he was criticized by the hypersensitive Right (and a few like you who never liked Rather) for not immediately reversing himself on that story, but Rather was no more criticized than BushCo for Iraq, Katrina, Gitmo, or $3 gallons of gas and you’re not saying that theyre being ridden out on a rail. if anything he was hung out to dry by Moonvies et al, the same group that has chosen to overpay for perkiness and soft than for believable and talented, the same group that chose to overpay David Lee Roth to replace our boy Stern.

    The View is not an afternoon show, its a morning program that comes on right after Regis and Kelly at 10am. the afternoons are reserved for soap operas. Suddenly youre pretending youre not down with General Hospital?

    Bob Schiefer is being pushed aside because he’s “old”? And how does that make you and your gray hair feel? Schiefer’s Sunday morning show is far better than the others and he’s one of the few actual newspeople left anchoring. Seems to me that someone whose been around the block a few times would be supporting an actual talent as opposed to allowing such agism to continue.

    Thank god nobody is telling Vin Scully that he’s too old to appear on tv. He tells 4-hour long stories almost every day much better than these perky kids – and he doesnt need anyone to write them down for him.

  • http://www.seanet.com/~jimxc/Politics/ Jim Miller

    What interested me about the Couric hiring was the coverage. As I explained in this post, conservatives mostly despise Couric. But no one at the New York Times, or elsewhere in the “mainstream media” seems to know this. (Does Jeff Jarvis?)

    One would think that, purely for commercial reasons, CBS would not have wanted to pick an anchor who was so disliked by such a large group. (And moderates often share, to a lesser extent the dislikes of conservatives.)

    And , assuming, just for the sake of argument, tha CBS wants to put on a professional news program, does it make sense to hire an anchor who went into deep and obvious mourning after Bush’s 2004 victory? Or is so openly committed to Hillary Clinton?