Les Moonves says some nice (!) things about the evening news in this WSJ interview:
|MR. MOSSBERG: Is there a future for the evening news on television?|
MR. MOONVES: I’d be lying if I didn’t say the image of network news is very different than it used to be. It used to be people would race home at six o’clock to watch Walter Cronkite, and it used to be a tradition. By the same token, every evening at 6:30, 23 to 25 million people still watch the evening news. That’s not insignificant.
I think it’s very important still to have a news division. It’s still highly profitable in the mornings, somewhat less profitable in the evenings. “60 Minutes” is still a valuable part of the landscape of America, still the most highly watched network newsmagazine. The news has evolved and it’s changed because by the time people get home, they usually know everything. It’s about expanding on a story. Is it less significant than it used to be? Absolutely. Is it still important? I believe so.
The highest rated show on CNN is under a million viewers. Katie Couric is in third place, but she’s still watched by 6.5 million people every single night. So she kills every show on CNN, and she kills every show on Fox News.
In addition, when there is a big story breaking, whether it’s Katrina or whatever, people go to the networks first. The network news ratings go way up. For the 24-hour-a-day coverage, they do go to cable news. [And to] the Web. The news sites on the Web are growing in leaps and bounds every single day.