Oh-so-briefly interrupting staycation to note that Charles Gibson is retiring as host of ABC’s evening newscast, to be replaced by Diane Sawyer, meaning that white-male TV anchors are now officially oppressed. Cue Glenn Beck editorial in 5, 4, 3…
Seriously, the interesting implication of the move for network evening news is how Sawyer’s performance will compare with Katie Couric’s at CBS, and therefore, how much Couric’s low ratings is attributable to sexism and how much to Katie Couric. Sawyer, you could strongly argue, was the more logical choice for CBS than Couric in the first place (and for ABC than Gibson). She’s telegenic and has a star quality that Gibson never really did without the I-dare-you-to-take-me-seriously challenge that Couric had from the get-go.
At least that’s the interesting thing is you are forced to believe that there are interesting things about the network evening news, which is probably not much the case any more. Network morning shows are a greater profit center with nearly as great reach, and the really important thing here in the long run is that ABC has the chance to tear up and rebuild the second-place Good Morning America if it wants to.
In the meantime, I suspect Sawyer will do fine in on World News, a job she’s been waiting a long time for. News anchoring is a diminished prize now in terms of audience and influence—it has long since stopped being a main driver of the news cycle—but the checks still clear and it’s still the biggest TV-news laurel to collect.
But then, I’m not her intended audience, since at 6:30 I’m either feeding the kids, playing a game on my iPhone, or lying supine in an opium den. Any actual evening news viewers care to weigh in? Should Brian Williams be nervous?