The extraordinary coverage and attention generated by Katie Couric’s move to the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News is precisely the kind of buzz that the CBS managers, Leslie Moonves and Sean McManus, sought in the first place. When Moonves famously said of the CBS News division that he “wanted to blow up the whole building,” he meant he wanted to shake the institution out of the doldrums and downward spiral it has been in for the last decade or more.
This appointment will accomplish that. Katie’s arrival in September will bring in new people and ideas to a broadcast that has enjoyed some rejuvenation in the last year with Bob Schieffer at the helm, but is still third in the ratings.
Having known Katie for more than two decades, back to the days when she was a national correspondent for Today, I have no doubt that she will do a fine job as anchor. She has the background, intelligence and practical experience necessary for the job. She is also remarkably at ease in front of the camera and able to establish a personal rapport with the audience.
Katie has another great asset as she aproaches this challenge that she may not yet fully appreciate. Rome Hartman, the veteran CBS producer who was recently named executive producer of the Evening News, is one of the best in the business. He is already producing a more newsy, thoughtful broadcast — you can sense it in the story selection and pacing. Katie would be wise to keep him in place.

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