CBS News made official today what had been unofficial for a while: Scott Pelley will succeed Katie Couric as anchor of The CBS Evening News, starting June 6.
The announcement is pretty much the opposite of everything Couric’s was: it’s not groundbreaking, risky or surprising. He’s a competent, well-known CBS fixture—and falls into a reliable category for CBS, the white guy with a drawl. And I would assume the choice is uninspiring by design. With Couric, the network paid a lot to try to make a grab at the competition’s viewers. With Pelley, it seems to be trying to offer familiarity to the viewers the third-place network still has, and, well, hoping something breaks its way in the future.
None of which is exactly a criticism or a compliment: it just is, which is to say, CBS is probably right to guess that the evening news is not in the innovation business anymore. But Pelley may prove very good at the staying-the-course business.