Couric out, Pelley in as CBS anchor in June

posted at 11:36 am on April 5, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

According to a new report from TMZ and picked up by Fox, CBS will play it safe and turn to an in-house talent in Scott Pelley to replace Katie Couric as its evening news anchor.  The decision came personally from the new CBS News chairman, Jeff Fager, who apparently took the job with the condition that he could name the next anchor.  However, Fager didn’t exactly have a wide range of options:

“60 Minutes” correspondent, is the choice of CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager.  We’re told Fager, who became Chairman in February, took the position on thecondition he could decide who takes the desk.

We’re told Pelley, 53, is the choice for two reasons.  First, he’s well-liked and respected by his bosses, and second … there really is no second choice who is appealing to the CBS honchos.

Even if CBS wanted to take a flyer on an out-of-the-box choice, they don’t have many options.  The reason they have to make this choice now is because of their last out-of-the-box choice to hire Couric away from NBC’s Today show, hardly a training ground for hard news presentations.  Couric’s four-year run failed to lift the network from its last-place position among broadcast networks, even with her status as the first female anchor since Connie Chung shared duties with Dan Rather and the first female solo anchor.  Couric says that the weight of CBS history and local station performance accounts for the lack of improvement:

“I believe we were in third place for 13 years before I got here,” she said, according to the New York Post. “And I think habits, particularly with an evening news broadcast, move at a glacial pace. And I think that local news stations have something to do with it.”

Couric came at a time when the network news broadcasts were already sliding towards irrelevancy.  Couric’s hiring briefly halted that trend, but the truth is that the era of people waiting until 7 pm ET to get their news in a 30-minute presentation ended years ago.  The advent of cable news networks and the expansion of cable and broadband Internet access has put the nightly broadcast-network news shows in the same category as tube TVs built into wooden consoles.  The fact that Couric’s talent applies more to talk shows than news reading didn’t help matters, but in the end didn’t matter.

Pelley will be better suited for the task, but don’t expect a sudden resurgence in viewership.  The 30-minute nightly news broadcast is little more than an anachronistic habit.  Pelley would do better work if he stuck to the news magazine format, and CBS would be better advised to start its own cable news network instead.


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I can’t wait to miss the show…again.

VegasRick on April 5, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Network anchor decisions are a lot like GOP presidential nominees. It’s obvious to everyone involved that the nominee/anchor will be a flop. But yet they still keep nominating/hiring them.

angryed on April 5, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Wow. What a dud of a choice.

They need a funny conservative. Just imagine if they picked Nick Gillespie.

Nethicus on April 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

People actually watch CBS?

Urban Infidel on April 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Irrelevant?

Of course. And did you actually refer to Couric and Pelley as “the talent”?

Jaibones on April 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

*Yawn*

BobH on April 5, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Yeah, that will make a difference…btw, what newspapers and magazines does he read?

right2bright on April 5, 2011 at 11:42 AM

CBS…still digging.

d1carter on April 5, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Couric says that the weight of CBS history and local station performance accounts for the lack of improvement:

this comes from the gal that trots out her colonoscopy on the air….

ted c on April 5, 2011 at 11:44 AM

From the headline thread:

PELLEY: You mentioned telling the truth as a Muslim, and as you know so much better than I do, Verse 42 of the second sura: “The truth shall not be obscured by falsehood, and those who know the truth must tell it.” But when I ask you a question as direct as “Will you pledge not to test a nuclear weapon?” you you dance all around the question. You never say “yes.” You never say “no.”

AHMADEINEJAD: Well, thank you for that. You are like a CIA investigator. And you are . . .

PELLEY: I am just a reporter. I am a simple, average American reporter.

AHMADEINEJAD: This is not a Baghdad prison. Please, this is not a secret prison in Europe. This is not Abu Ghraib. This is Iran. I’m the president of this country. Well, I think that I’ve gone beyond what you’ve asked me, above and beyond. And I think that if you speak to your job as a reporter, what I have said so far, again, goes above and beyond what you ask me.

Pelley’s a decent reporter, from what I’ve seen, and he’s not afraid to be tough when need be.

Abby Adams on April 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM

People actually watch CBS?

Urban Infidel on April 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

You know, not to cut Couric any slack because she deserves the lion’s share of the blame for her failure. But let’s not overlook the fact that right before she got there, CBS News had just suffered through the Rathergate scandal. That couldn’t have helped the credibility of their news department.

Doughboy on April 5, 2011 at 11:46 AM

irrelevancy

Yup. I get my news mostly from the internet, some radio, and local stuff from the local newspaper (such as it is) and cable. Network news comes on at 6:30 pm, when I’m either training in aikido or doing woodworking. They might as well shut those shows down.

rbj on April 5, 2011 at 11:46 AM

The 30-minute nightly news broadcast is little more than an anachronistic habit.

I can’t remember the last time I watched the nightly news….It was probably prior to the Gulf War…..the one that started in 1991.

ted c on April 5, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Couric came at a time when the network news broadcasts were already sliding towards irrelevancy.

And Dan Rather and “Memogate” didn’t help matters.

Knucklehead on April 5, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Hell of a soccer player, though.

The Mega Independent on April 5, 2011 at 11:50 AM

If you thought Katie was biased, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. His hagiography to Obama will be staggering.

gitarfan on April 5, 2011 at 11:52 AM

There’s a couple of ways at looking at this.

1) They are replacing a gravitas-less soccer mom with a man

2) They are replacing one leftist dingbat with another

Really Right on April 5, 2011 at 11:52 AM

I saw 0 Couric CBS shows. I plan to double my score now.

Marcus on April 5, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Since all three networks are losing viewership, I wonder why they don’t change the format? I try not to miss Special Report.

Cindy Munford on April 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I’m surprised Katie didn’t take a bigger shot at Mr. Fake but Accurate on the way out. Blaming your predecessor seems to work on a large segment of Americans.

booter on April 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM

What’s “CBS News”?

cartooner on April 5, 2011 at 11:58 AM

They need a funny conservative. Just imagine if they picked Nick Gillespie.

Nethicus on April 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Nick wouldn’t take kindly to being called a conservative. He’s a solid libertarian.

cartooner on April 5, 2011 at 12:02 PM

You at least have to give CBS news some credit for covering the gunwalking scandal:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8300-31727_162-10391695.html?keyword=gunwalking

Colbyjack on April 5, 2011 at 12:02 PM

The deck chairs really look much better this way.

And the band plays ‘Nearer My God to Thee’….

cthulhu on April 5, 2011 at 12:04 PM

I’m still not watching. Why should I break my record? I’ve not watched for so long that I have no idea what my record is.

BetseyRoss on April 5, 2011 at 12:04 PM

More on Walkergate from CBS news investigates:

Issa subpoenas ATF over gunwalking allegations

ATF gunwalking: Who knew, and how high up?

Colbyjack on April 5, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Still not watching. Don’t care.

littleguy on April 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM

[Crickets]

Dopenstrange on April 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Pelley seems to be a decent enough guy but it really doesn’t matter. The plane is hurtling toward the mountainside and can’t pull up.

Mason on April 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Couric belongs on those vapid morning network shows for which she was originally hired. There’s a surprise.

slickwillie2001 on April 5, 2011 at 12:12 PM

My dog does that head tilt thing when he is confused, too.

Still, not gonna watch.

Fallon on April 5, 2011 at 12:12 PM

but the truth is that the era of people waiting until 7 pm ET to get their news in a 30-minute presentation ended years ago.

It’s not like they don’t have a combined viewership in the 15-20 million range or anything. There’s a good number of people who still get their news that way, not a growing or even dominant share but atill large enough. It probably will be for at least 10-20 years.

jarodea on April 5, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Scott Pelly’s family cares…not sure anyone else does

georgealbert on April 5, 2011 at 12:14 PM

ah! keith olbermann would have been PERFECT!

next choice would have been Joy Behar.

wildweasel on April 5, 2011 at 12:15 PM

As for Couric not being right for the job, next thing I know you’re going to tell me that hiring a vapid princess of a columnist to co-host a political talk show is a bad idea.

jarodea on April 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Since they did not pick a complete unknown, or a known ‘conservative’ it is clear they do not want to be taken seriously.

Slowburn on April 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Tens of loyal viewers across the entire USA are cheering right about now…

Khun Joe on April 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I assume similar excitement greeted the announcement of a new CEO at De Soto Motors in 1959.

Mr. D on April 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Couric out, Pelley in as CBS anchor in June

whatever

jaime on April 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Too bad Rosanne-Rosanna-dana is no longer available.

Mr_Magoo on April 5, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Pelley is a partisan hack of the first order. Goodbye CBS News.

motionview on April 5, 2011 at 12:23 PM

The deck chairs really look much better this way.
And the band plays ‘Nearer My God to Thee’….
cthulhu on April 5, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Zing…

Or as the pompous English lady in the movie The Patriot exclaimed when the ship in the harbor blew up. “Oh look! Fireworks!”

Mr_Magoo on April 5, 2011 at 12:24 PM

No surprise – his head tilts to the left.

Blake on April 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Comments are now open.

Comment #1 added.
“I can’t wait to miss the show…again.
VegasRick on April 5, 2011 at 11:38 AM”

Comments are now closed.

Mr_Magoo on April 5, 2011 at 12:26 PM

The only important question is: “Will he achieve parity with Katie Kupcake’s salary demands or will he be left to scramble for food and rent money in the payroll basement?”

ExpressoBold on April 5, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Zzzzzz…

petefrt on April 5, 2011 at 12:46 PM

GREAT IDEA!

Let’s blame the local stations! Yeah!

The stations who are contractually required to air the CBS bilge every night, irrespective of the demographics of their particular area.
Did it ever occur to the bigwigs that, just perhaps, red-state citizens might not find their particular brand of eyewash particularly useful or attractive? That lefty sewage spewed from the fount of Couric is not desirable?
What a pack of asshats.

heldmyw on April 5, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Couric was a good MSM soldier, took out Palin and is now nothing more than a no-longer useful tw…..it.

Bruno Strozek on April 5, 2011 at 12:54 PM

That’s the best they got? Wow.

vcferlita on April 5, 2011 at 1:11 PM

The only important question is: “Will he achieve parity with Katie Kupcake’s salary demands or will he be left to scramble for food and rent money in the payroll basement?”

Also, will he get an on air colonoscopy?

vcferlita on April 5, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Pelley’s a decent reporter, from what I’ve seen, and he’s not afraid to be tough when need be.

Abby Adams on April 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM

He used to be a reporter for WFAA, the ABC affiliate here in Dallas, back in the ’80s. He was pretty good then. But, I still won’t watch SeeBS News.

Ward Cleaver on April 5, 2011 at 1:19 PM

I assume similar excitement greeted the announcement of a new CEO at De Soto Motors in 1959.

Mr. D on April 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Check out the beautiful new Firedome, Fireflite, and Firesweep models at your local Plymouth/Valiant/DeSoto dealer!

/wth?

Ward Cleaver on April 5, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Also, will he get an on air colonoscopy?

vcferlita on April 5, 2011 at 1:12 PM

.
And… will he do it with, or without, sedation?
.
Scenario: “Reporting from the nether end of a colonoscopy tube after a deep cleanse enema prep, this is Scott Pelley …

ExpressoBold on April 5, 2011 at 1:34 PM

WHAT?! Katie Couric left the Today show?

Know It All on April 5, 2011 at 1:38 PM

A couple of years ago Pelley did a 60 minutes piece on the marsh people of southern Iraq, and their comeback after Saddam was removed from power.

The name George W. Bush was not mentioned one time in this piece.

Pelley is an effing doosh!

Really Right on April 5, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I only know one thing about Pelley, and it’s a slightly favorable one.

On the day McCain won the nomination he held a morning rally at Mi Tierra in my city, San Antonio. I went with my husband.

It was a very crowded SRO room, and the reporter pool was not pleased. The a-hole WaPo photographer was dropping f-bombs as he walked past me, and Tucker Carlson had a sourpuss look on his face the entire time.

Pelley, however, seemed to be enjoying visiting with the crowd and even laughed at McCain’s jokes. He seemed to be a nice guy.

juliesa on April 5, 2011 at 1:44 PM

CBS News? 60-minutes? Are those still on? Why is it that I don’t care about these ass-wipes anyway? Is the Communist Broadcasting System even relevent anymore?

woodNfish on April 5, 2011 at 1:46 PM

WHAT?! Katie Couric left the Today show?

Know It All on April 5, 2011 at 1:38 PM

I thought Dave Garroway and J. Fred Muggs were the hosts. Hmmmm…

Ward Cleaver on April 5, 2011 at 1:46 PM

See-BS could save a lot of money by employing a set of wind-up chattering teeth with a flag of the Soviet Union waving in the background.

viking01 on April 5, 2011 at 2:03 PM

I can’t remember the last time I watched the nightly news….It was probably prior to the Gulf War…..the one that started in 1991.

ted c on April 5, 2011 at 11:47 AM

You and me both, Ted. The tipping point was watching the daily Pentagon briefings, live on C-SPAN, then hearing the way it was reported that night. It was if they had watched a completely different event.

It was tough for several years until I got online, and even then the news choices were nothing like today. I really credit Rush Limbaugh with teaching me how to listen to not only what is being said, but also what isn’t being said.

TugboatPhil on April 5, 2011 at 2:19 PM

I like Scott Pelley. His 60 Minutes reports on the mortgage crisis were pretty good.

Ted Torgerson on April 5, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Look for Katie to rebound on “Dancing With the Stars”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nPjO_zT7po

mrt721 on April 5, 2011 at 3:24 PM

What’s “CBS News”?

cartooner on April 5, 2011 at 11:58 AM

B.S. at the speed of light.

RJL on April 5, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Pelley, however, seemed to be enjoying visiting with the crowd and even laughed at McCain’s jokes. He seemed to be a nice guy.

juliesa on April 5, 2011 at 1:44 PM

If I were a liberal, I too would have been in a jolly mood after learning McCain was the Republican candidate.

RJL on April 5, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Irrelevant?

I was thinking, “pointless”, yet irrelevant works too.

But, then, “who really cares”? that also works.

Lawrence on April 5, 2011 at 4:52 PM

The fact that Couric’s talent applies more to talk shows than news reading didn’t help matters, but in the end didn’t matter.

I was thinking cheer-leading, but that might get NOW to harass you.

clement on April 5, 2011 at 5:15 PM

They need a funny conservative. Just imagine if they picked Nick Gillespie.

Nethicus on April 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I agree. However, I was thinking of a more unconventional choice, Dennis Miller. It would be bold, clever, and somewhat surreal considering Miller’s stint as SNL’s Weekend Update Anchor. People would tune in just for the novelty, and I think Miller would be competent and interesting enough to keep them tuning in. I know I would watch.

DeathB4Tyranny on April 5, 2011 at 11:32 PM