Are CBS Affiliates Wishing Katie would Leave Sooner than Later and Why the “N” word is Like a Vampire.

CBS affiliates around the country may think they can’t catch a break when it comes to the network news.  For years they dealt with Dan Rather and his quirky behavior and low ratings.  Manager types I know at CBS affiliates openly wished he would step down so they could have more a fighting chance at the national news level.  When Danno left and Bob Shieffer stepped in, it looked like things were improving.  Then, as if watching a train wreck, CBS announced they were bringing in Katie.  I’ve said before and I say again that I never cared much for KC on the Today show and I just couldn’t see how perky would play on the evening news.  It didn’t and the ratings tanked after an initial honeymoon spike.  Some have suggested Katie go to 60-Minutes.  At 15 mil a year, she would probably be their only reporter since she would probably blow their budget.  Some have suggested she go to the CBS Early Show.  Wasn’t this tried with Bryant Gumbal?  Anyway, she’s not going there either.  Remember back just before KC made her debut and she had all of the media attention.  Some CBS honcho perhaps Moonves said she had already earned her 15-million dollar salary with all the hype she inspiried.  Bet they wish they had their 15-million back now.  ON MSNBC it was suggested that we all need to step back and let Katie be Katie.  It was suggested that she hadn’t had the opportunity for the really big story that keeps anchors on air for hours and proves they have the chops for the big story.  It was suggested that she would do well in that situation if we would all just give her time.  I can give her the time as I don’t bother watching the CBS Evening News.  I just hope when it comes time for the big story that it doesn’t involve some world pandemic of virulent tuberculosis.  After all Katie has taken her minions to task for using the word “sputum” in her copy and she was caught off guard since she doesn’t like that word.  I think she needs to do two things: Get over the use of sputum and maybe next time do what anchors usually do; preread your copy.

Speaking of words I don’t like: the “N” word.  I make no bones about it that I grew up hearing the word.  I think it’s vulgar and I’ve never liked hearing it and I don’t care who says it.  I’ve never understood why it was okay for some people to use it but if others used it, you were a racist.  So I actually was pleased to read that in Detroit the NACCP  symbolically laid the word to rest.  But I think the “N” word is like a vampire.  It will have to have a stake driven through its heart and the coffin nailed shut for it to stay put and even then, someone, somewhere will set it free for it to roam the countryside again.  The person springing the “N” word from its prison will claim freedom of speech or the need to “keep it real” or something along the lines of that and we get to deal with it.  To me the use of the word by anyone is like very loudly breaking wind in public.  Society in general frowns on such activity but some people will still do it either accidentally or intentionally and people will nervously chuckle or scowl disapprovingly.  Eventually it may fade away but it will never, ever go away.

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8 Comments on “Are CBS Affiliates Wishing Katie would Leave Sooner than Later and Why the “N” word is Like a Vampire.”

  1. Bobby Jones Says:

    So true ,so true.. I never understood why it was “okay” for anyone to use the “N” word.
    Im sure it wont stay “dead” though.
    I have to agree with CBS concerning Katie Couric.

  2. Doug J. Says:

    An anchor’s an anchor. Of course, I was never a regular anchor, so maybe I’m biased. I just had a long talk with someone who I think has a lot on the ball, and they said while they were a Katie fan when she was on Today, they just couldn’t watch her do the Evening News. I didn’t get it.

    Women have anchored local newscasts, from small markets to NYC for decades — and viewers don’t have any problem with that. And that’s even when they’re stronger anchors than the men they’re paired with. But — when it comes to network news — all of a sudden, a woman by herself isn’t good enough? I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. Katie’s been reporting on major stories for years, she’s just doing it later in the day now. And don’t tell me about the silly morning show stuff she’d done over the years — Brokaw, Gibson, Cronkite — all did morning shows before they took over the evening news.

    Did I agree with all the features she brought to the show? Maybe not– but I also know that overall viewership has been dropping for years — in part because people don’t like the stuffy, never-changing format of the evening news. She makes some changes, and now that’s wrong. Not fair. Should she have pitched a fit over “sputum?” No, but I remember when I was doing a month-long series on colo-rectal cancer — I can tell you that Jerry Tate got awfully sick of saying “stool sample…” and eventually wouldn’t say it at all.

    I will say this. The president of CBS made a mistake when he opened the bank vault to get Katie. John Roberts was perfect for the job — and had the reporting chops covering the White House — just like Rather and Brokaw did before they took over the anchor desk. Les Moonves wanted a “star…” And made the mistake of assuming that Katie’s audience would follow her. Same mistake CBS made when they grabbed Gumbel. One day they’ll get it — the Today Show is the star — not the people hosting it. Otherwise, it would have gone off the air when J. Fred Muggs left. He was a damn fine monkey.

    And Mel Brooks’ taking Cleavon Little by the arm in “Blazing Saddles” and saying “the new sheriff is a ni-!” never would have worked without the “N” word. But, it is ugly — and the world could certainly do with a little less ugly.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Katie certainly isn’t worth 15 Million Dollars per year as an anchor.And with the sputum incident she seems very unprofessional. Because I love 60 mins I hope she doesn’t ever fly her broom there.She needs to cohost with Regis for a couple of years and lighten up.

    I don’t like the “N” word either Joe but to bury it the AA citizens need to stop using it because from 1984 (When I returned from 6 years in Germany) to today I only hear it constantly from AA entertainers,comedians,rap,etc.My son was bad about using it during his “Rap Crap” phase but being in the Army put the brakes on that.

  4. Joe Gannon Says:

    Les Moonves has always thought big stars could save CBS. He bent over backwards to lure Bill Cosby and Bette Midler and keep David Letterman. None of them really delivered much to the network (Cosby was okay, the Bette sitcom crashed and burned, and Letterman is too burned out to ever return to his former glory). What saved CBS? Survivor and CSI. Those two shows were game-changers and came without big stars.

    The Katie experiment is now a failure. Don’t let it go on for another 20 years like they did with Dan. Let her go, bring back Bob Schieffer, and work on the next big thing.

  5. Doug J. Says:

    You can call Katie a failure Joe, but what about Brian Williams? His numbers are falling VERY fast… If he loses many more viewers, he’ll be in Katie territory. Are you going to want to bring Brokaw back too? CBS bought their ticket — now they’ve got to finish the ride. Let her finish her 3 or 5 year contract.

    Schieffer is too old for the long term, and won’t move to NYC. If they bail on Katie, the Evening News turns into their morning show — just a revolving door of anchor talent — Until Les puts Mrs. Moonves (Julie Chen) in as anchor. Or worse, they put Anderson Cooper in the chair, and I’ll have to pluck my eyes out.

  6. joelarkins Says:

    As always Doug, you present a good and balanced argument and perspective. Of course I don’t watch Brian or even Charlie for that matter. I’m not sure that Moonves has the cajones to put Julie in the Evening News slot although pillow talk can be a powerful motivator. Who knows, he might acquiesce in a moment of passion. As for Andy Cooper, I think 60-Minutes will be as far as he treads in CBS territory although rumor has it they’re looking for some talent on the CBS Morning show.

  7. Pam Crittendon Roberson Says:

    Joe,
    I always enjoy your blog, and am disappointed when there are several days between entries (hint hint).

    Doug J. makes some good points about Katie. While I’ve felt she was not the right choice from the beginning, I wonder would there be the same debate about whether or not a morning show personality had the chops for evening news if it were Matt Lauer?

    Regarding the ‘n’ word – as a Black female I’ve never been comfortable with the belief that it’s okay for use between the ‘brothahs and sistahs’. That could very well be due to my childhood in a predominantly white environment. I prefer to think it’s due to my belief that intelligent discourse can take place on a higher plane, without expletives and offensive language. (Dammit 😉

    But I can’t help but think that whether or not they like it, people will have to accept that some things — like phones with cords, and vhs tapes — are becoming obsolete, including many words that have been part of our culture and ‘tradition’. (I’m old enough to remember when ‘gay’ meant ‘happy’.)

    I say, good riddance to all words that denigrate and devalue the unique contributions all individuals make to society.

  8. joelarkins Says:

    Good points as well Pam. Also, I don’t know if anyone who has commented on this blog that they’d like to see more frequent posts from me. I get the general feeling that some would like to see fewer. Anyway, I appreciate the support and if I can overcome the summertime lethargy will attempt to blog more frequently.


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