At an industry convention in Washington, Dan Rather said that the odds of Katie Couric succeeding as CBS’ anchor are getting longer. Rather, the featured guest at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, again implied Couric was “dumbing it down.” Of course, given that Rather and Les Moonves have a longstanding feud, it’s no surprise Rather blames the exec for Couric’s challenges:
Mr. Rather today said he doesn’t know whether Ms. Couric is the right person to lead “Evening News,” noting it will take more time to determine whether viewers embrace her. “It’s been a short time,” Mr. Rather said. Asked whether he thinks Ms. Couric will work as anchor, he said, “The odds are longer now.” Mr. Rather said any disappointment with the ratings for “Evening News” under Ms. Couric must be analyzed in context of the high expectations created by CBS executives including Mr. Moonves. Promotion of Ms. Couric as anchor included a “listening tour” she conducted to see what viewers were interested in seeing on the nightly newscast. Mr. Rather said CBS and Ms. Couric could have secured a coup had she gone to Lebanon instead, as the conflict there between Hezbollah and Israel was escalating at the time and would have helped her bolster her reputation as a newshound. Returning nightly broadcast news reports to traditional journalistic values will help them avoid the “clear and present danger” they face of becoming dinosaurs, Mr. Rather said.
In other news, new episodes of Dan Rather’s news show for Mark Cuban‘s HDNet are now available online.