So much potential. So much promise. So many eager, hopeful viewers tuning in to see history. So many expectations. So much damn baby Suri.
Call it what you will (The Today Show: Primetime, disgraceful, disappointing) but Katie Couric’s debut on the CBS Evening News raised a middle finger to all the critics and did exactly what many of them never expected: made no attempt at respectability whatsoever.
There was no attempt to duke it out with Williams and Gibson, in terms of substance, anyway. As far as the ratings go, Couric and CBS destroyed the competition, beating both NBC and ABC by close to five-million viewers, the only time in the last 13 years they’ve done so. This was mostly out of curiosity, to see how Couric would do. I hope, anyway.
What I was hoping for was some kind of exclusive interview. Couric talking with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, maybe one of Hezbollah’s leaders.
But all I got were exclusive pics of baby Suri and one more reason to cringe at Tom Cruise.
It’s not Couric’s fault, of course. The big wigs at CBS probably chose her first broadcast to run the photos. Or maybe it was Cruise. Scientologists at his level are supposed to be able to control people with their minds. I kind of wish I was kidding. Maybe he just threw a little money their way and hoped for the best.
So instead of running stories about pressing world issues or uplifting human-interest pieces, CBS gives the public a few minutes of celebrity baby pics. Take out the commercials and the average news program runs about 22 minutes. Now take out the time it took for the pictures to be shown and realize the decision was made to give 18 or so minutes to cover everything else that happened in the world, plus a little Morgan Spurlock thrown in. Dude has an envy-inducing ‘stache.
The evening news is too short anyway and throwing crap like Cruise and his baby in there gives the important stuff an even smaller window to be shown. No wonder people can’t find Iraq on a map.
And the thing that makes me saddest about all of this is that I usually don’t care about things like this. I don’t watch the evening news and I don’t really care all that much about Katie Couric.
It just felt like such a momentous occasion. This is the first woman ever to hold the full-time anchor position on an evening news cast. This could have been huge. Her first broadcast. I could have been compelled to tune in every weeknight, waiting to see what kind groundbreaking, exclusive story Couric was cooking up for me. It could have felt like a real nightly newscast. No fluff, just meat and potatoes.
But instead it felt like a Tuesday morning and I was sitting around watching photos of a baby with a head of hair that puts Matt Lauer’s to shame and waiting for Ann Curry to come on. And really, isn’t she the only reason to watch?