I’ve boasted enough to all the folks around the office, so I thought it was about time to lay it out to everyone… Bob Schieffer is one cool cat and one great news anchor. After the whole 24 years I started going to “sleep” watching Dan “Not the Man” Rather (he actually wasn’t that bad early on… but, he didn’t ripen well with age) it’s a blessing to watch CBS News’ replacement for Rather.
I guess it would help put this post in better context if I mentioned that I have a strong allegiance to CBS News. There’s no good reason behind it other than nostalgia (watching it every night at the dinner table as a kid) and having great respect for the outstanding news men that have tenured at CBS over the years — Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, and the always enjoyable Mike Wallace (who is retiring from ’60 Minutes’ this year, which is a huge disappoint to me). But, I digress… Back to Schieffer…
CBS had to come up big after the “Rathergate” scandal last year. Finding a replacement to compete with the great anchors at the other networks, I’m sure, was no easy task. But, I hand it to CBS for taking the leap of faith and heading in a completely different direction, not only with “their” anchor, but in contrast to all the major network’s anchors, as a whole. Schieffer’s layman’s approach to presentation and point-blank questioning of his correspondents is a breath of fresh air.
If there’s a fire across the street,” Schieffer says, “you don’t walk into the newsroom and say, ‘A raging, three-alarm fire, whipped by 40-mile-an-hour winds, ripped through the home next door.’ You say, ‘There’s a fire across the street.'”
It would be easier for you to watch CBS News than for me to continue rambling about it, so I guess that’s the point of this post. Watch it. See what you think for yourself.
From the Washington Post — Schieffer has been enjoying a wave of positive publicity, not least because reporters who cover television are fixated on ratings. For the season to date, the “CBS Evening News” has gained 183,000 viewers, from what had been a low point under Rather. By contrast, ABC’s “World News Tonight,” which is still rebuilding after the death of Peter Jennings and the injuries suffered by Bob Woodruff in Iraq, has lost 845,000 viewers and “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” has lost 741,000.
At the same time, Williams remains the undisputed evening news leader, averaging 9.87 million viewers to 8.78 million for ABC and 7.66 million for Schieffer’s broadcast.
So, CBS still sits in last place in terms of the major network news ratings, but with Schieffer in the seat, more or more people are coming back to CBS News by the day. There has to be more to it than just what I see…
I, personally, hope the trend continues and that CBS’s claim of “temporary anchor” was nothing more than a misnomer. I expect if the ratings continue the way they have, it might just be just that.