I’m probably too tired to do this tonight, but I’ll try.
I made a point in a post or two ago about my thinking that CBS made a mistake hiring Katie away from NBC to sit at the big anchor desk. I’m glad they did it. As an employee now for an ABC station I think the Katie move will be good only for ABC. “The Today Show” certainly won’t be the same and might allow “Good Morning America” (which I think was already the best morning show) to overtake “Today”.
Katie’s a good morning show/entertainment host. A primary anchor of one of the big 4 networks’ evening news? Not so good.
Here’s why: I’ve watched Katie from time to time and it seems most mornings I’ve tuned in, I’ve seen her dressed up in a Peter Pan suit or some other silly thing, giggling and acting cute. A network news anchor, I think, should be more. They’re the ones we tune to on Election night, during national tragedies (like 9-11 or the shuttle disaster) and when a serious enough issue brings the nation to the evening newscasts. Most nights, she’ll probably do okay. But when the stuff really hits the fan, I don’t think most people will choose to get that hard-news information from someone who’s danced around with the Rockettes or strapped herself in a big ball to knock down bowling pins.
I think hiring Katie to anchor the evening news would be the same as if CBS had named Oprah to sit at the big desk. People will tune in to see the novelty or because they ‘like her’, but when they want to find out what’s really going on, they’ll choose someone else.
Is it because people really prefer to hear those things from male anchors? I don’t know, but I suspect many feel that way. Does this mean a woman could never gain the credibility that a Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw or even (gasp) Dan Rather once held? I don’t think so. Dianne Sawyer seems to have maintained a level of composure and grace when reporting the big stories. Sawyer gained much of that credibility early on in her career when she became the first regular female correspondent on 60 Minutes.
Frankly though, I just never have gotten the Katie thing. She’s cute, pleasant and can ad-lib with a co-host like few people before her. But a network evening news anchor….I just don’t see it. Viewers can obviously prove me wrong, and so can she. But she’s got a big ole hill to climb to become the “go-to” anchor on Election night.