Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Katie Couric?

From the New York Times:

The speculation for at least the past three months has been that the “Today” host would accept CBS’s offer to succeed Dan Rather as the permanent anchor of “The CBS Evening News.” Bob Schieffer has filled in as anchor since Mr. Rather stepped down in March 2005, and has done that job with great success. Audience totals for the newscast are up significantly under Mr. Schieffer.

Ms. Couric is also expected to accept some role with the CBS newsmagazine program “60 Minutes” and perhaps have some other opportunities for producing news programs for prime time at the network.

I should say at the outset that it’s been a while since I’ve watched the Today show and I know very little about Ms. Couric’s journalistic background. I’m sure she’s got something going for her. I also have no problem whatsoever with a woman as the anchor of a network evening news show; that barrier was broken long ago by Barbara Walters who, it should be noted, got her start on Today. Ms. Couric apparently has a good sense of humor; she didn’t mind making a mockery of her image by doing the voice of Katie Current in Shark Tale.

That said, there’s just something that strikes me as odd about her sitting in the anchor chair at CBS. It isn’t a gender thing; I’d have the same problem with someone like Anderson Cooper. Maybe it’s just that she comes across as so upbeat (“shitting rainbows,” as a friend of mine once said about a perpetually happy colleague) that it’s hard to think of her doing the evening news, which isn’t — or at least didn’t used to be — an infotainment program.

Not that it really matters; when I watch the evening news, I usually watch ABC…with Elizabeth Vargas.