Canada's Media Magazine

Katie Couric’s big network news move

All eyes will be on Katie Couric when she helms her first CBS Evening News broadcast on Sept. 5.

As the first permanent solo female anchor of a U.S. network evening newscast (say that five-times fast), Couric will come out a winner even if she only holds the numbers steady. Of course, expectations are much higher than that and, barring any unforeseen disasters, Couric is likely to live up to a lot of them.

While the U.S. newscast ratings change at a glacial pace — the last major move was in 1996, when Tom Brokaw’s NBC Nightly News took over the top spot from the late Peter Jennings’ ABC World News Tonight — ABC’s broadcast has fallen by nine percent since Charles Gibson took over, while CBS has gained four per cent with popular fill-in anchor Bob Schieffer.

A gap of a little over a million viewers separates all three broadcasts (NBC: 8.8 million; ABC: 8 million; CBS: 7.3 million) and even a small audience gain shifts the dynamics dramatically.

Considering all the buzz surrounding CBS’ Couric, the newscast ratings war is going to get very interesting come fall.

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