Monday, April 04, 2011

Katie Couric is not relevant

Call it a jaded perspective from a younger thirty-something but Katie Couric isn't exactly relevant and shouldn't be a hot topic. As the anchor of the CBS Evening News, Couric simply never hit her stride and hasn't exactly set the ratings on fire -- even in an era where the network nightly news is about as relevant as the American Motor Company. To begin with, Katie Couric was highly overpaid. It's ludicrous for CBS executives to think that a female anchor along the vein of Couric would propel the nightly news back in to relevance. Coming from NBC's Today Show, she didn't exactly have much in the way of journalistic credibility. Sure, I've seen a few decent interviews from Couric but there's still that lingering stigma that all she had done previously was entertainment-type interviews and fluff pieces.

So maybe that's where Couric belongs. The big rumors are that Katie Couric plans on launching her own syndicated daytime talk show in 2012 but a woman in her 50s may not be so wise in taking that route. For better or worse, she may be nearing the end of her rather short tenure of relevance. It's not that women aged 50 and over can't continue to be relevant on television -- Barbara Walter must be in her 80s and while her niche is televised specials featuring celebrities, she does it well and is respected within that area of journalism.

Katie Couric, though, seems to be eager to be the next Oprah. That won't be easy. Oprah's popularity gained steam in the 1980s -- an era where cable television was still in its early years and had yet to begin producing original content that competed with the fare being featured on the big networks. And Oprah is the rare success story. For every Oprah (and there's been only one), there's a Ricki Lake, Gayle King, Tony Danza and Jane Pauley who have burned out or never really rose to any sort of daytime talk prominence. Katie Couric would likely face the same challenges as Lake, King, Danza and Pauley.

While Katie Couric is likable enough and obviously appeals to women (NBC's "Today" rocketed to the top of the morning heap with Couric as co-host), she'd face the challenge of being out of the limelight for as long as a year. In the entertainment industry, that's ratings suicide. It's not like Couric would be passed the daytime queen baton from Oprah either -- there's that one year gap. In that 12 month timeframe, those hundreds of TV stations airing Oprah are going to fill that hour with something else. Whether it's successful or not remains to be seen next fall but Couric would be starting from scratch. Even on the CBS Evening News, she was handed the framework of a program which viewers were familiar with. Sure, the presentation changed somewhat but the content remained the same -- a rundown of the day's news highlights coupled with some feature segments and the schmaltzy stuff that passes as human interest content.

I don't think that, if Katie Couric launches a daytime talk show, she'll have an easy road to ratings success. Sure, she'll likely be able to secure plenty of stations for a show to air on but they might not be the same top-notch stations which Oprah currently airs on. She isn't going to just ride off in to the sunset but after having a taste of being highly overpaid while not bringing much in the way of success, Couric has a tough road in front of her if she does truly leave the anchor chair at CBS.

2 comments:

Philadelphia medical weight loss said...

Actually, you have it backwards. A broadcaster needs to be warm and down-to-earth for a talk show and more formal for news. Couric seems to be tamping down some of her personality when she gives the news. Think Harry Smith would be well-suite¬d to succeed her, but hear CBS is talking to Scott Pelley.

Atlanta Roofing said...

I must have watched maybe two episodes, three tops of her anchoring the Evening News; I've invested way to much time emotionally adapting to her on the news in the evening for her to just give up now.