Television Time-Out #4
When Dan Rather announced his retirement following what many perceived as bias reporting on his behalf, there was a collective sigh of relief around the watercooler at his network. Well, I assume there was a sigh of relief. The CBS Evening News had been trailing NBC and ABC for what must have seemed like forever. In fact, with Rather gone, there began a series of statements by CBS Chairman Les Moonves about changing the traditional news format. This would involve bringing in a younger anchor, with the end goal of attracting a younger demographic. You know, the kids that supposedly buy everything.
Taking Rather's place on a temporary basis has been CBS correspondent Bob Schieffer. Mr. Schieffer has served with CBS since 1969, acting as the Washington moderator on Face The Nation since 1991. And while he is a familiar face to television viewers, I think he has surprised many of us with the degree of professionalism he has brought to the 6:30 newscast. Maybe we had all become so jaded with the lock and jowl mannerisms of Mr. Rather, that we had forgotten that CBS was once the home of the great Walter Cronkite. Or maybe Mr. Schieffer is just really good at what he does. You know. A professional?
The program now features unrehearsed, live discussions between Schieffer and the field correspondents. The anchor has an even approach to the news, but still gives the impression he a human guy and not a stuffed shirt. How unfortunate that the corporation that has so many hit programs under it's belt, as well as the NFL broadcasting contract, seems to fancy the notion Katie Couric is going to transform broadcast journalism as we know it. The rumors seem to be leaning towards booting Bob, and giving Couric the anchor desk. Let's hope this one stays a rumor.