April 11, 2008
The Future of CBS News: Lame Duck or Albatross?
All glory is fleeting. When CBS News hired Katie Couric a year and a half ago, the move represented a clear break with its past. Couric was sure to bring CBS into the 21st century by completing the People Magazinfication of the evening news. And CBS paid big time, entering into a five-year $75 million contract with Couric.
Now, as those clever headline writers at the New York Daily News report, CBS recognizes that the contract was a "Kat-astrophe." CBS News is mired in third place, where it was before Couric arrived. While all involved are denying rumors of Couric's imminent departure, the smart money indicates she will be gone before the next presidential inauguration.
The New York Times suggests that CBS's problems are broader than its ties with Kouric. Given the rise of the 24-hour news networks, the traditional network news divisions may no longer be able to compete. ABC News has clearly given up on breaking news. Meanwhile, the Times reports that CBS is rumored to be talking of a partnership with CNN.
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