Feature

Katie Couric's departure: Can anyone save the evening news?

The "CBS Evening News" anchor is reportedly leaving in June. If she couldn't revive ratings, who can?

After months of speculation, the Associated Press says Katie Couric has decided to step down as anchor of "CBS Evening News" when her contract expires in June. Long plagued by low ratings, Couric reportedly aims to launch a talk show. The list of possible replacements includes three CBS veterans: Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes," Harry Smith of "The Early Show," and national news correspondent Russ Smith. But with cable news and the internet luring viewers away from network news, will anybody be able to do better than Couric? (Watch an AP report about Couric's decision.)

Nobody can save the evening news: It doesn't matter who replaces Katie Couric, says Jeff Bercovici at Forbes. People just don't watch the networks' flagship broadcasts any more — their combined ratings have fallen 27 percent over the last decade. Anchors are no longer the larger-than-life fixtures they used to be. Besides, no matter who CBS picks, he or she won't bring the "excitement" the selection of Couric did, and even that didn't help."It doesn't matter who replaces Katie Couric. Here's why"

The right anchor choice could re-energize the show: OK, so "only old people watch evening newscasts" these days, says Hamilton Nolan at Gawker. But CBS could shake things up with a curve ball — say, Shepard Smith of Fox News? Or luring Anderson Cooper away from CNN could inject some much-needed new life. Or Christiane Amanpour? Even with demographics working against it, the "CBS Evening News" anchor chair "still carries a definite cultural cachet" that could lure in a game-changing star."Who will succeed Katie Couric?"

Forget the anchor — spend on reporters: Whatever you think about Couric's credentials and talent, says James Poniewozik at TIME, you have to admit that her high-profile hiring showed that her network believed her entertaining style could revive the show. "Perhaps it's time CBS and the other major networks recognize" that the audience for the 6:30 p.m. flagship news shows will never be as big as in the glory days. So instead of wasting a fortune on an anchor, CBS should make the show better by spending on reporters in the field."Katie Couric reportedly leaving; can anyone get you to watch CBS News?"

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