2086 CBS News
CBS is going through the changes. That’s only supposed to happen once, but they didn’t get the memo or read the medical books.
They’ve once again shuffled their deck to put slightly-more-than-competent in-house promotees into spots previously occupied by people of about the same competence level.
It all started with a kids’ show, Captain Kangaroo. Creator and star Bob Keeshan ran the thing from 1955 to 1984. When CBS decided to get serious in the early morning, Keeshan was out and a long line of really really good gray-heads were on … with really really serious, really really old school newscasters who made their bones in the various wars America had fought.
The program was excellent. Nobody watched. Well, not nobody. Just not enough of them to keep the lights on. That turned the Great Revolving Door into the Great Spinning Door. The classiest news division in network television could not pry viewers away from The Today Show on NBC and Good Morning America (upstart newbie at the time) on ABC.
CBS had the Evening News sewn up with Walter Cronkite. When he was forced to retire, that door started spinning, too. Replacement Dan Rather didn’t get Uncle Walter’s numbers. ABC’s World News Tonight was eating Dan’s dinner. Brokaw at NBC got Peter Jennings’ table scraps and leftovers.
Back to mornings. CBS hired Charlie Rose and got a ratings bump. Oh boy! Great news. Not great enough. Not enough to win the time slot but pretty good, historically.
That didn’t last long. In case you missed it, Rose, it turns out, had a problem with the ladies. Or, to put a finer point on it, the ladies had a problem with Rose. Having #MeToo chomping at ones… um … self is a career ender for the chomped.
Now, the latest. Breaking News about broken news. New CBS news president, Susan Zirinsky, by all honest accounts, brilliant, deserving and all those other things that are supposed to cloak people in that job, has put her foot in the spinning door by announcing all kinds of changes in the division’s on-air lineup.
You don’t need this space to give you the Glor-y details. They’re all over the internet if you want someone to name names. This one is going here, that one is going there. One of the present anchors will magically turn into a correspondent for 60 Minutes. At one time that was a position of honor. But it’s turning into a warehouse of “what do we do with this guy? Whoever “this guy” of the moment is.
There’s no shortage of talent at CBS news. Nor is there a shortage of dedication and original reporting. But when you go through the spinning door, you find yourself standing on a chess board.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2019