Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Getting the big chair (and the big challenge)
at post-Couric CBS News

The news arrived like a thunderclap, one news junkies had been anticipating for months: Katie Couric, for almost five years the anchor of the "CBS Evening News," would step down from the post later this year, in the wake of declining ratings and some frustration with the evening-news format she inherited.

From almost the moment the news of her imminent exit was announced, speculations began about who'd succeed her.

That puff-of-smoke-at-the-Vatican waiting game is now underway; the early prospects include the three leading internal candidates, Russ Mitchell, Scott Pelley and Harry Smith.

As CBS makes its decision, we can expect those who monitor the progress of black and minority journalists in television news to get behind Mitchell, a frequent CBS fixture and one of broadcast television's most recognizable African-American faces. ...

In some ways, Mitchell would be a natural for the CBS anchor slot. He's co-hosted the Saturday edition of "The Early Show," anchors Saturday's "Evening News," and has even filled in for Couric on the weekday "Evening News." ...

[But] whoever gets Couric's job will be asked to catch a falling knife: to take the helm of the perennially third-rated evening-news program and turn it around -- a tall order for the next CBS News anchor, regardless of race or gender.

Read more at theGrio

Image credit: Couric: CBS News.

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