Monday, April 10, 2006

The Couric Shuffle

Here are some random quotes in connection with the big Katie Couric announcement last Wed.

Overheard at a local eatery:

Guy to cute babe: "Hey did you hear Katie Couric is going to CBS?"
Cute Babe: "What? She's leaving Regis?"

Larry King to former CBS Legend Walter Cronkite:

Larry: What do you think are the qualities a news anchor should have?
Cronkite: They should be like me.

Overheard when Dangerspouse heard the big news:

"Who cares?"

Dangerspouse's actual reaction to the Katie Couric news:


The big news shuffle continues as networks try to fill their bank accounts and also those of the people who tell us what is going on in the world. Later this summer, Katie will bid adios to Matt and Al Roker and jump ship over to CBS where she will try as best she can to fill the chair once held by the legend himself.. the aforementioned Mr. Cronkite. The View and Millionaire host Meredith Viera who still has it at 50-something will replace her…

Channel 2 is also shuffling its lineup. Roz Abrams who looks so much better than her days at Eyewitness News with the “hair like Ken, Channel 7 Weathermen” is moving out of the 11pm slot to be replaced by Dana Tyler who looks EXACTLY the same as she did when she first came to Channel 2 many many years ago.

2 is actually shuffling all of their casts.. Weekend anchor Mary Calvi who is too hot to be a news woman now gets a weekday shift... and the whole morning crew is being re-done...jettisoning anchors Mario Bosquez and Jim Ryan plus weatherman Dave Price... thus ending the experiment to clone the old Channel 5 Good Day New York show.

In reality the whole Today show news doesn’t faze me... since on the rare occasions I am home watching TV at that hour I will usually watch the locally produced morning shows on Channel 5 or 11. If I were to watch a network show it would probably be Good Morning America because I like Diane Sawyer... or the Imus simulcast on MSNBC. As a matter of fact I truly cannot recall the last time I saw the Today show.

Nonetheless, its a gutsy move for Katie to bolt out of there.. but now she won’t have to get up early anymore, and instead of holding down 2 hours a day... she only has to worry about half an hour. I really doubt she will go the ABC Vargas route and anchor extra editions for the different time zones AND a late afternoon podcast.. (ABC dropped the live west coast newscast shortly after Bob Woodruff's injury). Heck, for the money she is getting paid... Couric should mop the floors and give eyebrow trims to Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite...

Katie kind of slipped into the Today Show chair at just the right time.. Jane Pauley was incredibly popular and left to get a lot less face time on Dateline NBC and later her short lived talk show. Deborah Norville... the Mary Calvi of the 90s replaced her... but was basically the David Lee Roth of that time... forced to replace a very popular morning personality. I actually like Deborah Norville, and she is quite talented. If I’m not mistaken, she went on maternity leave and NBC basically told her to keep taking care of her baby! With her popularity.. The NBC bigshots were probably digging through the NBC ladies room trash trying to find the pregnancy test so they could finally get rid of her...

So it was Norville out.. and Katie in.. (she was then called Katharine Couric),.. but as she cooed to Gumbel on her first day... should I be Katharine or Katie?? Then Gumbel departed also for CBS where he did a shortlived magazine show and then went back to mornings with a woman named Jane.. not Pauley... who was a Mormon and refused to drink caffeine. So much for that Today host’s defection to CBS. He left the network a few years ago and now does a show on HBO. Jane was replaced by CBS President Les Moonves girlfriend - now wife Julie Chen who he plucked from obscurity as a weekend reporter at Channel 2.

Matt Lauer replaced Gumbel taking an odd route to stardom... He used to host PM magazine in the 80s and then after hosting a talk show on Channel 9 (9 Broadcast Plaza) which was the precursor to the Richard Bey Show (which begat the Jerry Springer show).. he packed it all in and was working as a tree surgeon. One day Channel 4 called and asked him to anchor the early morning local news show.. and then he started staying late and co hosted Live at Five with Sue Simmons. Eventually NBC started to like him and he started reading the newscasts on Today.. and as soon as Gumbel made HIS big move to CBS.. Lauer took over as the host.

Why is Katie so popular? I dont know... but I think it is probably because she is part of the very popular long running show. Its actually the sum of all the Today Shows parts that makes it so popular... and not necessarily one person. It may have been kind of arrogant for her to mark her 15th anniversary on that show by saying adios. That may be why in the post Tom Brokaw era...(the host that Gumbel replaced) the departed host who gets the most on air TV face time is actually Deborah Norville. Will this work out for Katie? Maybe... but I don’t think the 630 newscasts are as relevant as they used to be when they were anchored by legends like Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley and subsequently by stars like Rather, Brokaw and Jennings.

One other thing: One of the Star Ledger critics took a break from his endless Sopranos columns and speculated that Katie will ultimately host.... The CBS Morning Show... And, if it comes to that,... it will prove exactly what we saw when CBS moved Gumbel to the morning slot... that the Today show's success over the years has not been due to any one person.

Or perhaps they may want to put her on at 1130 when Letterman retires?

Now to recap… Katie goes to anchor the CBS Evening News… Meredith Viera goes from the View to Today… and who is gonna replace Meredith on The View? How about going full circle and hiring former CBS Evening News Anchorman.. Dan Rather? I can just see the exchange with Star Jones… “Star.. You almost bled to death when you had your boobies done… you have such… Courage”.

And then they can bring back Regis to host daytime Millionaire…


Bryant Pumpbel said...

I'm with Dangerspouse ("Katie who?") But to her credit, K.C. endured a colonoscopy on the air a few years ago, and treated her viewers to all the gory visual details of her kishkes, which I suppose takes a certain amount of guts. It was a nice thing for her to do, to raise public awareness of colon cancer, considering how she lost her husband to the disease. So I predict her evening viewers will be divided: some will take her credibly and seriously; others (most likely of the older male contingency) will continue to find her too "perky" to capably handle any post-11:00 a.m. programming. Not that I care, really. Although I instinctively tune into NBC for 90% of information, I don't have much of a preference for any particular morning show. "Today", "Good Morning Vietnam", whatever, no difference. Sort of like those pre-reality shows, "That's Incredible!" and "Real People", that competed with each other back in the '70s, to the point where an issue of MAD Magazine did a spoof, a show called, "That's Real Incredible, People!". So who knows, maybe all the networks will lump the big-name news stars together one one show: "The Good Early Morning A.M. Today Show, America!"

Dangerspouse said...

I can't believe you heard me say that all those miles away! Absolutely verbatim too. Well done!