Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bring Back Dan Rather

133 Bring Back Dan Rather

Words you never expected to hear here. But compared to Couric, he’s Murrow.

Memo to Charles Gibson and Brian Williams: You have nothing to worry about.

The New CBS Evening News with Katie Couric is kind of like a highway pile up with parts of the NBC scenery and graphics departments, the writers from Metromedia Radio in the 1960s the “Today Show” and Disney’s Fantasia hitting one another at high speed.

Let’s break that down. NBC Scenic has become a parody of itself, busily distracting you from whatever else is going on on the screen. Compared to the Katie Show, it’s conservative.

Then there are the graphics. The Vaseline and gauze on the lens is to hide anchor wrinkles, not to make Osama and then Dubya appear as if from a cloud.

The writing is forced New York wiseacre. Verbiage unbecoming an anchor, whether of an evening newscast or a morning wake-up show.

And Couric hasn’t left the Today show yet.

The interview segment is reminiscent of what the NBC types called the “Today” “co-op,” a chatty but empty little gabfest that stations can use at about :25 and :55 past the hour if they don’t have local news. Most viewers never see that because most stations DO have local news.

Then there’s what and how they cover. Peculiar that after “months of negotiations” a look inside a Taliban camp in Afghanistan just happened to lead the first program.

An oil find in the gulf was the lead on NBC Nightly News. But it was kind of wedged into the middle of Katieland.

She’s still perky. She’s still Katie. That wasn’t hard to tell, despite so much eye candy: multiple versions of the CBS eye, an anchor desk with financial data displayed in Times Square size type.

All three of the evening newscasts have become vaudeville shows. Here, there is no clear-the house act at the end. Just Katie pondering what kind of closing she should use, playing those of Murrow, Cronkite, Rather, Huntley-Brinkley, Ted Baxter and Ron Burgundy. No distinction was made between the real news anchors and the fictional ones. And then she asked viewers to send in their suggestions.

The theme was written by the same guy who wrote the music for the movie “Titanic.” Sense of irony anyone?

Disclaimer: the undersigned and C were colleagues for a decade. She appeared to like me. If ever she sees this, that’ll change.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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