Thursday, September 17, 2009

Losing It

I used to like Katie Couric. I liked her when she looked like someone I might know, like she does in this old photo. But she doesn't look like this anymore, I guess since she adopted a "difficult diva" persona. I also liked her when she laughed more, but I don't think she does that so much anymore either, maybe because difficult divas aren't known for laughing. Or maybe it's hard to laugh when your ratings are dropping like a hot rock.

I think she got her big break doing floor coverage at one of the Presidential conventions--at least that's where I first became aware of her. She was funny and she laughed a lot, and she was so small she nearly got smashed in the crowd every time the camera went to her, but she always had the big, big smile. She had a lot of attitude, spunk, and energy, and I liked her. She was fine on the Today Show for a few years, but at some point she changed, and I just didn't care for her so much anymore. I don't think I've seen her show more than twice since she went over to CBS to anchor the evening news.

The ratings for the yellow stream evening news shows are--well, abysmal, according to a report on NewsBusters. Usually the ratings dip in the summer and then come back in the fall, but so far, there's no sign they're coming back. These are the broadcasts of Brian Williams at NBC, Charles Gibson at ABC, and the Perky Katie Couric at CBS; read the news and weep, YSM:
  • The ratings for all three newscasts are down a combined 28.5% from their peak in late January during the first full week of Barack Obama's presidency.
  • The three network news shows have lost a combined 37.7% of their audience in the 25-54 demographic during the same time period. Ouch!
  • At 19.55 million, the three are basically drawing audiences no larger than they were during this past (for them) miserable summer.
Couric's ratings are the worst of all; she must know where all the bodies are buried--that's the only way I can imagine that she's keeping her anchor job at CBS. She comes in dead last by a lot: Total Viewers: ABC: 7,240,000 / NBC: 7,150,000 / CBS: 5,160,000.

For comparison, the guys at Fox News, which consistently outdistance all the other cable channels, come in with Bill O'Reilly at about 3 million and Glenn Beck (in a terrible time slot) at about 2.5 million. You can only imagine what their numbers would be like if viewers got the Fox News station for free like they do the big three network news shows.

Update: Just as I used to watch one of the nightly news shows (years ago), and I used to read two daily newspapers, I also used to read both Time and Newsweek. Over the past year, Newsweek has lost 400,000 readers, down to a weekly circulation of 2.7 million. The numbers may be even worse than that, since those numbers are months old. Newsweek is on life support, after trying a makeover that evidently didn't work. I don't know what Time's numbers are like, but after their recent cover ("Is Your Baby a Racist?") you have to think they must be pretty desperate. But keep on selectively reporting the news, you left-wing rags. It's working out well for ya.

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