Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
Well, as in days almost vanished in the mists of time, we gathered around the TV set, our little family of two, and watched the next iteration of what Big Network Television thinks is a roundup of the day’s news. We saw Couric standing, Couric sitting behind a big desk that knew the day’s stock closings, Couric seated comfortably in front of what seemed to be a visual history of the CBS ‘eye’ icon chatting to the NYT’s Tom Friedman as the camera dollied nervously back and forth.
We saw some large stories (the change at the top of Ford Motor Company and the report on the effects of toxics in the air at Ground Zero) dramatically reduced to single-sentence briefs and an almost rah-rah report on new oil finds in the gulf that felt (on most of the networks, actually) like some sort of coordinated PR message from the oil industry, the administration, and the car industry. We took a deep breath and spent a minute-twenty watching filmmaker Morgan Spurlock exercise his First Amendment rights. We saw pictures (ooh, exclusive!) of the Cruise-Holmes baby placed in the..uh, grand CBS News tradition (look, Douglas Edwards held up pictures of baby Prince Charles, so it’s like, OK!)
And finally, we witnessed what appeared to be chapter one of Katie Couric’s Quest for a Sign-off, again self-consciously placed in a historical context that streched from Murrow through Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite, Rather…and the fictional Ted Baxter and Ron Burgundy (“Stay classy, San Diego!”)
All of that in about 21 minutes of program amidst almost ten minutes of commercials. (The dark blue here on our EyeTV timeline is content, the rest are the breaks.)
Will she be a nightly habit? My quick first reaction…I got a richer news meal from Charlie and the chunks of Brian I watched during the Katie breaks. And I’m still figuring the typography out (Couric’s Evening News seems to fit in the tradition of several shows this season that seem to have unlocked the big cabinet of any-damn-typeface-in-the-world and said “have at it!”) Also, she kept mentioning this ‘web site’ thingie where apparently much more news exists. I guess I’ll have to check that out too.
Oh, and at the end, the new CBS News slogan: “See it now. Anytime. Anywhere.” Ghosts of Murrow, indeed.