Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Morning After: Bye Bye, News Babes

One of the highlights of the CBS Evening News with old Bob Schieffer is his rotating gaggle of newschicks, these beautiful Charlie's Angels types jetting around the world, gals like Lara Logan (dubbed "34D Lara” by The London Sun after underwear modeling shots were revealed), Trish Regan and Serena Altschul.

We fear we will be seeing far less of them and more Steve Hartman as little chubby Katie takes the reins.

Funny how the PR machine has spun dry Katie Couric’s image from the fearsome tyrant, “at the first sound of (whose) peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights...", back to the spunky, perky, loveable squeezeball who’ll bring fun and sun to old CBS.

Bill Carter leads today's New York Times Couric story with one of his patented intimate scenes, this one around the Couric “dinner table,” as Katie runs the CBS balloon past her two daughters:

…Ellie, 14, at once voted for the jump to CBS, pointing out that mealtime was certainly no problem because, thanks to her mother's unusual schedule, they had been eating "early-bird dinners" for their entire lives, while almost everyone else they knew did not sit down to eat until 7 or 7:30.

When Ms. Couric turned to Carrie, 10, she got an equally quick response. Carrie said she would choose CBS as well, because that would make her mother "the first woman in that job.”

Does that scene ring true? It doesn’t ring true to us, not like Carter’s Jay Leno-hiding-in-the-NBC-broom-closet scene. We don’t buy it. Sounds like phony-baloney PR at work.

Check out the Epilogue to Tabloid Baby. Katie and Matt Lauer are mentioned specifically as the new standard bearers of tabloid journalism on the Today show. The tabloid-“mainstream” inbreeding has been going on for years now. And the injection of spunkball Couric into the CBS News bubble is only the latest step in Les Moonves’ deliberate destruction and tabloidization—or, darkly, the Entertainmenttionightatization-- of CBS News.

It’s got little to do with the Evening News job (the "managing editor" title they tossed her devalues that role on resumes, past and present-- and, oddly, her "from the heart" Today show farewell, read off a TelePrompter script, showed that newsreading is not Katie's forte). That stained throne is not what it was. ABC showed how little they think of it when they turned theirs over to Bob Woodruff and Liz Vargas, then put Woodruff in harm’s way (Vargas acted out her nonchalance when she set herself up for immediate pregnancy leave). NBC gave the seat to pretender-in-waiting Brian Williams. They’re not the premiere broadcasters of our day and not even the best qualified in their respective news departments. Katie won’t be grinning her gummy grin for the Depends and Metamucil crowd for long. We agree with Hollywood Thoughts on that one.

A note about her Today show replacement, Meredith Vieira: We knew Meredith long ago when she was a local news reporter for WCBS-TV. In fact, in our very first weeks living in New York City, we ran into the young Vieira in the acrid haze on 23rd Street as she did a live shot about the pier fires that covered Manhattan in grimy smoke. She would've fit in with Schieffer's Angels in those days.

She didn't wear well on The View. But who would?

No talk about ageism here. Despite all the skinny chiquitas wrassling for Katie’s job, Meredith is FIFTY-TWO.

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