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The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric
CBS Evening News
Current logo of The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
Format News
Created by Don Hewitt
Presented by Douglas Edwards (1948–1962)
Walter Cronkite (1962–1981)
Dan Rather (1981–2005)
Connie Chung (1993–1995)
Bob Schieffer (2005–2006)
Katie Couric (2006–Present)
Weekend:
Jeff Glor (2009-present) (Saturdays)
Russ Mitchell (2006-present) (Sundays)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 61
Production
Running time 15 minutes (1948–1963)
30 minutes (1963–Present)
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run May 3, 1948 (as CBS Television News), 1950 (as Douglas Edwards with the News), April 16, 1962 (as Walter Cronkite with the News), September 2, 1963 (as The CBS Evening News) – Present

CBS Evening News is the flagship nightly television news program of the American television network CBS. The network has broadcast this program since 1948, and has used the CBS Evening News title since 1963.

The CBS Evening News is currently anchored on weekdays by Katie Couric, on Saturdays by Jeff Glor, and on Sundays by Russ Mitchell. It is broadcast from the CBS Broadcast Center at 524 West 57 Street in New York City.[1]

Contents

Anchors

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Douglas Edwards (1948–1962)

CBS began broadcasting news shows on Saturday nights, expanding to two nights a week in 1947. On May 3, 1948 Douglas Edwards began The CBS-TV News, a regular 15-minute nightly newscast. It aired every weeknight at 7:30 PM ET/6:30PM CT, and was the first regularly-scheduled television news program. The week's news stories were recapped Sunday night with Newsweek in Review. The name was later shortened to Week in Review and the show was moved to Saturday.

In 1950, the name of the nightly news was changed to Douglas Edwards with The News. When in 1951 it became the first news program to be broadcast on both coasts, thanks to a new coaxial cable connection, Edwards started using the greeting "Good evening everyone, coast to coast."[2]

The program competed against the Camel News Caravan on NBC, launched in 1949. Edwards attracted more viewers during the mid-1950s, but lost ground when Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were teamed up by NBC on the Huntley-Brinkley Report. In September 1955, Edwards was moved to 6:45 PM ET, although some affiliates had the option of carrying a 7:15 PM ET edition.

On November 30, 1956, the show became the first to use the new technology of videotape; it was used to time delay the broadcast (which originated in New York City) for the western U.S.[3]

Douglas Edwards died on October 13, 1990.

Walter Cronkite (1962–1981)

Walter Cronkite took over the anchor chair on April 16, 1962. On September 2, 1963, CBS Evening News became network television's first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, lengthened from its original 15 minutes to 30 minutes, and telecast at 6:30PM ET (as before, some affiliates had the option of carrying a 7:00PM ET edition).

NBC's team of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley had the most-watched network news program at the time, but under Cronkite, the show began what would eventually become an eighteen-year period of dominating the nightly news ratings.[4] In the process, Walter Cronkite became an American icon, judged "the most trusted man in America" in a Gallup Poll from that era, a status that had first been fostered by his coverage of the JFK Assassination.[5]

The newscast broadcast in color for one evening on August 19, 1965,[6] and made the switch permanently on January 31, 1966.[7] With the retirement of NBC's Huntley in 1970, Cronkite moved into the ratings lead and held it through the decade. Cronkite's image was further bolstered by his enthusiastic support for the space program, culminating with his anchoring of CBS News' coverage of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969.

His 1968 editorial declaring that the United States could only hope for a stalemate in Vietnam is often credited with influencing Lyndon Johnson's decision to drop out of the Presidential race. "If I've lost Walter Cronkite ... [I]'ve lost Middle America", he stated.[8]

In late 1972, Cronkite prodded the show's producers to feature two nights of lengthy explanation of the Watergate scandal, which had been heavily covered by The Washington Post but had not received heavy national coverage. After the first half of the report, shown on a Friday, ran for 14 minutes – half of the air time of the broadcast – White House officials complained to CBS founder William S. Paley. Monday's report was aired, but only for eight minutes.[9]

Walter Cronkite retired from the broadcast March 6, 1981, under a CBS policy requiring mandatory retirement at age 65, which would occur nine months later. CBS correspondent Dan Rather, 49, replaced Cronkite the following Monday.

Walter Cronkite died on July 17, 2009.

Dan Rather (1981–2005)

Dan Rather, a CBS news correspondent since the early 1960s and a 60 Minutes reporter, took over the program on March 9, 1981 but was not as well-received as an anchorman as Cronkite had been – by 1990, the show was in third place behind ABC and NBC.[4]

Concerns about excessive liberalism in the media were frequently leveled at Rather and CBS in general.[10][11][12] Some of these concerns dated from Rather's position as White House correspondent for CBS News during the Nixon Administration. An interview related to the Iran-contra affair with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush where the two engaged in a shouting match on live television did little to dispel those concerns.[13] Rather apologized for his behavior in statements the following day.

On September 1, 1986, amidst turmoil at CBS News and a brewing battle on CBS's Board of Directors for control of the company, Rather closed his broadcast with the word "Courage." He repeated it the following night, while on September 3, he said what he thought was the Spanish word for "courage", pronouncing it "cur-AH-he". In the face of media attention and pleas from his staff, Rather abandoned the signoff on September 8.[14]

On September 11, 1987, Dan Rather marched off the camera in anger when it appeared that CBS Sports' coverage of a US Open semifinal match was going to cut into time allotted for the Evening News. Rather was in Miami covering the papal visit to the city. When the tennis match ended at 6:32 PM, Rather was nowhere to be found. Six minutes of dead air followed before he returned to the broadcast position – surprisingly, nearly half of the audience watched and waited. Rather later suggested that his intention was to force the sports department to fill up the entire half-hour so that he wouldn't have to truncate their elaborately-planned coverage of a visit by Pope John Paul II.

Demonstrators from AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) broke into the CBS News studio on January 23, 1991 and chanted "Fight AIDS, not Arabs" during the show's introduction. One protester was seen on camera just as Dan Rather began speaking. Rather immediately called for a commercial break and later apologized to viewers about the incident.[15]

In 2005, Rather left the anchor position amidst controversy and a credibility crisis over reports broadcast in the heat of the 2004 Presidential election campaign. The report was a September 2004 60 Minutes Wednesday segment questioning President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard record. Conservatives challenged the authenticity of the Killian documents used for the report. A number of bloggers analyzed scans of the documents, and rapidly concluded the documents were forgeries. Subsequently, CBS commissioned an independent inquiry into the matter and several CBS staffers were fired or asked to resign.

Although Rather denied this incident was the reason for his departure from the broadcast, the damaged credibility of the news division was evident. After his departure from the anchor chair, Rather worked on other CBS News programming as a correspondent before leaving the network in 2006.

At age 73, Dan Rather retired from the Evening News on March 9, 2005, at 7:00 EST, exactly 24 years after succeeding Cronkite. On June 20, 2006, CBS News President Sean McManus announced that Rather and CBS had agreed to end his 44-year career with the network.

Dan Rather & Connie Chung (1993–1995)

From June 1, 1993, to May 18, 1995, Connie Chung began co-anchoring the broadcast with Rather. She co-anchored in the studio, but also with either herself or Dan on location, with the other in the studio. Although Rather never said so publicly, CBS News insiders said he did not approve of her appointment.[16]

Bob Schieffer (2005–2006)

On March 10, 2005 Rather was succeeded on an interim basis by longtime CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer. Schieffer has hosted the CBS News Sunday-morning political program Face the Nation, based in Washington, D.C., since 1991.

At the time Schieffer took over, it was uncertain how long he would host the broadcast; also uncertain was whether it would retain its current shape or instead adopt some kind of multiple-host or other alternative format.

Under Rather in the years leading up to his retirement, the show trailed its rivals at ABC and NBC by a fairly large margin. John Roberts, the White House correspondent and Scott Pelley, his predecessor in that position, were often mentioned as possible successors to Rather when he retired.[17] Jim Axelrod took over as White House correspondent when Roberts later left for CNN.

In the months following Rather's departure, the program came to emphasize live exchanges between Schieffer and the various CBS News correspondents around the world. In contrast to traditional network-news practice, these exchanges are unrehearsed as part of an effort to make the language on the broadcast sound more "natural".[18] Viewership levels increased over this period of time. It was the only news broadcast to gain viewers during 2005. In November 2005, CBS announced that Evening News executive producer Jim Murphy would be replaced by Rome Hartman, who took the helm over in January 2006.

Schieffer led The CBS Evening News to become the #2 evening news broadcast, beating out ABC World News Tonight. This came after a five-year period of being a distant third. The death of Peter Jennings in 2005 put the ABC News division in flux. When Charles Gibson was appointed as anchor at World News Tonight, ABC regained much of its momentum to take back the #2 spot. Bob Schieffer's final broadcast of the newscast occurred on August 31, 2006. Russ Mitchell filled in for the following two nights (September 1 and 4), after which he was succeeded on September 5 by Katie Couric.

Katie Couric (2006–present)

CBS Evening News logo used from September 2006 to October 2008

On December 1, 2005, it was reported that Katie Couric, host of NBC's Today morning show, was considering CBS' offer to take over the CBS Evening News. On April 1, 2006, Couric officially signed the deal to become the anchor of the CBS Evening News. On April 5, 2006, Couric announced on NBC's The Today Show that she would be stepping down as anchor of the show, a position she held for fifteen years. [19]

Couric began working at CBS News in July 2006. During her first broadcast as anchor on September 4, 2006 new graphics, a new set, and a new theme composed by Academy Award winning composer James Horner were introduced; similar graphics and music would be used in other CBS News productions such as Up to the Minute, CBS Morning News, and The Early Show throughout the month of October. A new opening title sequence was designed, with Walter Cronkite providing the voiceover, replacing Wendell Craig unless a temporary voice-over was needed. Morgan Freeman started doing the voice over on January 4, 2010. The program also debuted a new feature called "Free Speech" in which different Americans, ranging from a well known national figure to an average person, would provide a news commentary.[20] However, after overwhelmingly negative reaction, the "Free Speech" segment was discontinued.

On March 8, 2007, The New York Times reported that executive producer Rome Hartman was being replaced by television news veteran Rick Kaplan. Hartman's last production aired on March 7. Kaplan comes to the CBS Evening News after stints at MSNBC, CNN, and ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric won the 2008 and 2009 Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast. In September 2008, Couric interviewed Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, earning respect from a MarketWatch critic for asking tough questions.[21]

On August 27, 2008, MediaBistro wrote a piece about the Big Three network newscasts, praising Couric's CBS Evening News for extensive reporting that had, to its eyes, content better than its rivals. [22] Another critic from MarketWatch praised Couric's recent work and said that people should watch out for her this 2009.[23] That didn't stop from there, Tom Shales, a Washington Post writer praised Couric as a warmer, more benevolent presence than her two competitors; something that she brought to the program nearly 16 years of goodwill from doing "Today" and becoming America's sweetheart, or very close to it, and that goodwill is still there. He went on to say that viewers may find bad news less discomforting and sleep-depriving as Couric gives it to them. It's news you can warm up to. He also added that that doesn't mean she tries to sugarcoat or prettify grim realities. According to Shales, "The CBS Evening News" may be a more hospitable, welcoming sort of place than its competitors. He concluded by stating that it's naive to think that viewers choose their news anchor based solely on strict journalistic credentials, though Couric's do seem to be in order, whatever the Katie haters may say.[24]

On October 20, 2008, the newscast's graphics were overhauled with a new design, using a blue and red color scheme with web-influenced motifs and layouts. The new graphics design was lead by Bob Peterson and other members of the CBS News staff, made with a contemporary look, influenced by the graphics CBS used during the 2008 presidential election coverage.[25]

Ratings during Couric's period as anchor have flucuated, seemingly improving at times, but also posting historic lows--going back to at least the 1991-92 season.[26] Despite receiving awards, positive critiques, and 'overhauled' on-air presentation, the newscast remains mired in third place--behind NBC Nightly News and ABC World News.[27]

Couric had been the only solo female news anchor in the United States from September 4, 2006, until December 21, 2009, when Diane Sawyer joined Couric as the second female evening news anchors, as she took over for Charles Gibson, who retired as anchor of World News with Charles Gibson.[28]

In 2009, CBS News revived its "CBS Reports" brand for "CBS Reports: Children of the Recession," a critically acclaimed multi-part series. The second installment, "CBS Reports: Where America Stands" will begin airing in January 2010.

Weekend editions

CBS correspondent Russ Mitchell currently anchors the Sunday edition of the CBS Evening News. Mitchell, along with Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez Nancy Cordes and Jeff Glor are also currently substitutes for Couric on the weekday edition of the CBS Evening News. The Sunday edition airs a half-hour earlier than the rest of the week's broadcasts at 6:00/5:00 ET/CT (as a result, the majority of CBS affiliates that air an early evening newscast on Sundays will air it and the Sunday edition of the CBS Evening News in opposite fashion from how they are aired Monday through Fridays). The Saturday editions, at 6:30/5:30 ET/CT, are anchored by Jeff Glor.

Weekend newscasts are often pre-empted for CBS Sports telecasts, most notably coverage of the National Football League. However, an anchor will deliver updates during a break in the action if major news develops.

Former anchors of the weekend newscasts include Dan Rather (1970–1975), Roger Mudd (1975–1976), Morton Dean (1976–1979), Bob Schieffer (1979–1990), Paula Zahn (1990–1996), John Roberts (1996–1997), Deborah Norville (1997–2002), Giselle Fernández (2002–2005), Mika Brzezinski (2005–2006) and Thalia Assuras (2006–2007).

High definition

On Monday, July 28, 2008, the CBS Evening News began broadcasting in high definition, becoming the third national newscast, behind NBC Nightly News and News Hour with Jim Lehrer to do so. In addition, 60 Minutes started broadcasting in HD in September, with the remainder of CBS News programming to follow by the end of 2009.[29]

Broadcasts outside the U.S.

CBS Evening News is shown on Sky News to viewers in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia at 12.30am & 5.30am GMT. In Australia, the bulletin is shown at 11.30am Monday to Saturday, and at 12.30pm on Sundays on Sky News Australia.

CBS is not shown outside the Americas on a channel in its own right. However, CBS News is shown for a few hours a day on satellite channel Orbit News in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. CBS Evening News is broadcast live on ATV World in Hong Kong daily (except on certain weekends). In the Philippines it is shown on Q, everyday Mon to Sun at 1:00pm(local time) live via satellite after Balitanghali.

From 1 January 2009, ATV ceased broadcasting CBS Evening News and its sister programme, 60 Minutes Plus. The broadcast of Late Show with David Letterman has also been stopped.

Correspondents

CBS News HQ in New York City-based

Washington, D.C.-based

Los Angeles-based

London-based

Other Locations

References

  1. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-04-1999/0000925277
  2. ^ Frank, Dennis (2006-03-02). "Douglas Edwards Chronology". The Douglas Edwards Archives at St. Bonaventure University. St. Bonaventure University. http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/Edwards/chronology.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  3. ^ "Channel 5 Engineer Honored With Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award". knpb.org. http://www.knpb.org/staff/awards.asp. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  4. ^ a b Auster, Albert. "Columbia Broadcasting System". http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/C/htmlC/columbiabroa/columbiabroa.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  5. ^ Former CBS anchor 'Uncle Walter' Cronkite dead at 92 CNN, 18 July 2009.
  6. ^ CBS at 75 cbs.com.
  7. ^ Television Listings TIME (1966-01-28).
  8. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/walter-cronkite/filmmaker-interview-catherine-tatge/563/
  9. ^ Ben Bradlee Remembers Walter Cronkite Newsweek, 17 July 2009.
  10. ^ Dan Rather: a pioneer and a lightning rod at Christian Science Monitor.
  11. ^ Dropping the anchorman at The Economist.
  12. ^ The Dan Rather File at Media Research Center
  13. ^ Media Research Center (Producer). In 1998 Rather grilled Bush about Iran-Contra. URL accessed on 2007-09-09.
  14. ^ Boyer, Peter J. (1988). Who Killed CBS? The Undoing of America's Number One News Network, pp. 304-06. New York: Random House.
  15. ^ "AIDS Protesters Enter Sets of 2 Newscasts". The New York Times. 1991-01-23. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED6153EF930A15752C0A967958260. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  16. ^ MediaWeek article from April 26, 1997
  17. ^ Anchor Battle! CBS News Boys Go to Corners The New York Observer, 5 Dec. 2004.
  18. ^ CBS won't drop solo anchor Boston Globe, 26 April 2005.
  19. ^ "NBC NEWS "TODAY" KATIE COURIC TRANSCRIPT" (Transcript). Today. NBC. 2006-04-05. http://nbcumv.com/release_detail.nbc/news-20060405000000-nbcnewsquottoday.html. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  20. ^ "CBS News Debuts 'freeSpeech' An Original Segment Of Opinion And Commentary". CBSNews.com. 2006-09-06. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/05/eveningnews/main1967177.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  21. ^ http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/story.aspx?guid={5C747603-F143-45ED-AED7-84AC269BABD9}
  22. ^ Media Bistro.com
  23. ^ http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/five-media-stories-watch-2009/3F71F405-A6A2-4A35-B105-E3A2A0BEE77F?dist=msrv_2
  24. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/28/AR2009012803756.html
  25. ^ "CBS Evening News To Debut New Logo, Graphics Monday". TVNewser. May 15, 2009. http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/cbs/cbs_evening_news_to_debut_new_logo_graphics_monday_116637.asp. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  26. ^ http://www.observer.com/2009/media/closer-look-cbs-evening-news-historically-low-ratings?utm_source=observer_media&utm_medium=internal_links&utm_campaign=gillette
  27. ^ http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2010/network_tv_audience.php
  28. ^ Bauder, David (September 2, 2009). "Sawyer to take over as anchor of ABC evening news". Associated Press. Yahoo! News. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090902/ap_on_en_tv/us_abc_gibson. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  29. ^ "CBS Evening News Gears Up for HD". broadcastingcable.com. 2008-07-26. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6576275.html?industryid=47168. 

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