More evidence — rumor, at least — that CBS is shuffling away from the news business: The Wall Street Journal says Katie Couric is likely to leave before her wildly expensive contract is up. The Journal speculates that she could replace Larry King.
I really liked Larry King on the radio two decades ago. He made the tiresome job of sysop on the graveyard shift tolerable. I’ve found his television show and his column in USA Today to be highly irritating, though, for reasons I can’t figure out.
Interviewing people, and taking call-in from listeners would play to her strengths. She is good at softball interviews, in getting people to open up about themselves, allowing us to know them better. I suspect I would tune in fairly often – but talk of her “replacing” Larry King simply sets her up for failure.
Larry King had decades of experience interviewing people on radio before he got the show on CNN. There’s nobody that could really replace him, just as neither Leno nor Letterman have really replaced Carson, just as Carson didn’t really replace Paar, and Paar didn’t really replace Allen.
Whenever you make a change in a product, it’s like depressing the clutch in order to shift gears. Your existing customers like your old product, or else they woudn’t be your existing customers. Some of them will dislike the change – and it takes time for non-customers to discover and become habitual users of your new product. If they give her time, she could be a good choice for that format, at that time slot. But these days, does anyone in broadcasting really get the opportunity to build an audience?
But people who habitually have heart attacks rarely live forever. Sooner or later, Larry King won’t be able to host that show.
Bum link on the words, “Journal says.” Goes to the wrong place.
fixed the link, thanks.
It’s like when CBS put Pat Sajak against Johnny Carson, for one year.
CBS, the broadcast television network, is entitled to decide whether it wants to ax its news division or not. CBS News, if it wants to survive as a newsgathering operation, has to think of itself as a providing video journalism not television journalism. If CBS News ties itself to broadcasting it is as moribund as a newspaper tying itself to print. The reason why Katie Couric is The Anachronistic Anchor is that she was a broadcaster’s solution to a video problem. Hiring her was a bid to increase broadcast ratings rather than a plan to diversify online platforms. Growth is only possible with the latter strategy.
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