Is Dan Busy?

19 years

24 years

14 years

Not that it carries the cachet it used to, but one of the select positions in the news business was as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather each spent years as anchor, many of the years in each of their tenure’s as number 1 in the ratings.  Connie Chung and Bob Schieffer for short stints. And Katie Couric. But not, apparently, for long. The current anchor and managing editor of the Tiffany Network’s flagship newscast is on her way out as her contract ends this summer. If you believe Monday’s news reports.

At least one person mentioned to me today that CBS made a mistake giving the news to a morning show anchor. I had to remind them that Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw and Diane Sawyer all anchored morning shows before moving to the evening anchor chair.

I alternated between watching Peter Jennings and Rather. I didn’t quite see Dan as the liberal tool that many conservatives believe he was. He was a bit quirky, which made the news interesting. I do think he made his own bed with the mess over the story about President Bush’s time in the Texas Air National Guard. Dan has been a journalist long enough to know that if you go on the air with shoddy sourcing, it’s gonna bite you in your big Texas butt.

NBC planned for change. Tom Brokaw could still be doing an excellent job of anchoring the Nightly News. But he was ready to step down, and he knew soon enough for his network to groom Brian Williams for the anchor desk. I think the suits in charge at CBS knew for years that their preference would have been to ease Dan toward the door – but they never asserted themselves and made the decision to start that process.

When he did leave (don’t let the door hit you on the way out!), CBS had no plan. Bob Schieffer – a fine journalist – was put in place on a temporary basis while Les Moonves hatched his plot to bring star power to the news. I wasn’t a “Today Show” fan, but I knew Katie was popular. Popular enough to bring viewers to the network? A lot of people didn’t think so. No gravitas they said. No depth. No hard news credentials. Hey, she didn’t suck. But CBS had its share of problems before she got the gig. CBS lost a bunch of strong big market affiliates to Fox in the mid-1990s. Without strong local news lead-ins, the network news isn’t going to do well. In my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, the CBS affiliate is incredibly strong. And there, Katie has the #1 network newscast.

Where will she land?

So now, Jeff Fager, head honcho of “60 Minutes,” is now the boss of the entire news division. The talk is that he’s willing to give Katie a slot on that show when she leaves the anchor desk. Of course, she part of the deal to bring her to CBS in the first place was to make her a regular contributor to “60,” but for some reason, that never happened.  There’s also talk of giving Couric a daytime talk show. CBS happens to be a major syndicator. Their biggest daytime offering right now? Oprah. Once she rides off in the sunset to her own network (see what I did there? ‘own network…’ Oprah Winfrey Network… huh? huh?).

Good move, Mr. Roberts!

Anyway, I though John Roberts should have gotten the job instead of Couric back in 2006. Well, he left CBS when he was passed over, stopped off at CNN, where he found himself a really beautiful woman and started a family and is now working at Fox News. Rumors point to Scott Pelley as a possible replacement, just like in ’06. And Harry Smith, who was just booted off the morning show is also a potential replacement. Whoever you pick CBS, don’t let it be Anderson Cooper. Unless you make him co-anchor with Kathy Griffin.


Keeping Up Appearances

I would have written sooner, but I’m trying to help Tennessee maintain its place as the laziest state in the nation. At least, that’s the word from the folks at The Volunteer State won the top spot in the list of lazy states listed by the online site, which is an off-shoot of the investment website “The Street.”

Here’s the nice little nugget highlighting the page on Tennessee: Taking the top spot as the laziest state in the union is Tennessee, where just more than half – 51.8% – of the adult population report at least two and a half hours of physical activity per week. And because the only way to make a point is to over make it, they included a nice little photo of an Elvis impersonator (in Los Angeles, not in Tennessee).

The actual work was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in another sign of your tax dollars hard at work. You can read their report here.

To me, the upshot of this is that we don’t exercise quite enough. Granted. Exercise can be a drag, and I think that even people who exercise regularly would admit or agree to that. We eat too much and most of the stuff we eat too much of is bad for us. I’m reminded of that every time I bike or jog past the Gus’s Fried Chicken on Front Street. Of course, bad food (food that is bad for us) tastes incredibly good, because it’s got so much of the stuff that makes us enjoy food. It is tough to ignore the treadmill I put in my bedroom recently, especially since Spring is playing coy with bringing the heat – or at least enough to make outside exercise a regular thing. Although she has brought the pollen.

Good night and God Bless

We’re saddened at the passing of Elizabeth Taylor and Geraldine Ferraro. Taylor’s beauty, personality and acting ability was outsized, much bigger than the petite girl with the oddly-colored eyes (they never seemed violet to me; but then, I never saw them in person. Color correction in film and video tape often misses reality). Seems like she liked being married; but wasn’t very good at making them work. Incredibly beautiful, this picture was taken when she was a teenager!

I did get a chance to see the also petite Ferraro in person. The year she ran for vice president was when I had my first job as a reporter, for 610 WTVN radio in Columbus, Ohio. I covered a campaign stop of hers. It was my first time going through the whole Secret Service screening. She was quite personable, but between Vice President Mondale telling voters that he would raise their taxes and Ronald Reagan telling people it was morning again in America, the New York Congresswoman never got the chance to show her skills on a national and international stage.

Speaking of loss, several friends of mine have lost loved ones recently. Facebook has created a unique way for people to share their feelings of love and loss. And for the people who care about them having a way to support those feelings. Always remember those you love. Tell them when you can.