The 11 p.m. Network News

By Brian 

In 1951, Reuven Frank had a great idea.

“Look,” he said to his bosses, “the big news is at suppertime. Why? Because the big radio network news during the war, when the whole world listened, was at suppertime. But all that’s over now [in 1951]. Life is normal. People want news when they get up in the morning — which is why ‘Today’ is doing so well — and before they go to sleep. Why not give the early evening time back to the stations and do the network news at 11 p.m.?”

The answer involves cigarettes, as Frank explains in a TV Week guest commentary. Then the 11 p.m. local newscast became the norm…