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09/06/2006: "Heeeere's Katie!"

Katie Couric made her much-anticipated debut at the helm of the "CBS Evening News" last night, and no, the world didn't end.

Like most of America, I tuned in just to see the historical nature of the event. While it wasn't a blockbuster, I'd say it wasn't a disaster, either. CBS had promised changes in the format along with the new host, and the overall effect made it quite different than the staid male-dominated broadcasts we've seen over the years.

In some ways, the shock value of a new, upbeat host and a modernized format may be too much for some to take. Right from the start, though, she made it clear she was going to do it her way. The traditionally dour newsman intro of "Good Evening" was replaced with a still-too-perky "Hi Everyone". That, combined with a feature on the upcoming Vanity Fair spread of the TomKat spawn ("A CBS exclusive", gushed Couric) and a gratuitous shot of the host's oft-written-about legs gave the first show a feel more reminiscent of "Entertainment Tonight" than "Evening News".

"I felt the show, taken as a whole, had too much softness to it," said Bob Zelnick, a former ABC News correspondent and current Boston University journalism professor. He said, however, that Couric won't really be judged until the public sees her perform when big news breaks.

Couric's only real nod to her newbie status came at the end, with a joking report on her difficulties coming up with a signoff. She showed clips of Cronkite, Chet Huntley, Dan Rather, and even fictitious anchormen Ted Baxter and Ron Burgundy giving their final words, then invited viewers to submit suggestions on the CBS News Web site.

"Thank you so much for watching," she said, "and I hope to see you tomorrow night."

As the end credits rolled, Couric, wearing a white jacket over a black shirt and skirt, was leaning against the edge of her desk, showing her famous legs.

She gulped a celebratory martini handed to her when the cameras turned off, according to CBSNews.com.

To be fair, I felt she did a good job for someone under such incredible scrutiny, but the baggage she brings from her previous gig on the Today show will be difficult to overcome. The ratings were a smash, but we'll have to wait and see how it goes once everyone goes back their primary news sources - which for most people does not include network news broadcasts.

You do have to respect her for the martini, though - my kind of broad! wink

Oh, and Rosie O'Donnell - part of the extended game of musical chairs initiated by Couric's move - made her debut today on "The View". But the planet will have to start rotating backwards before I make an entry about either that person or that show ... crazy

Replies: 1 Comment

On Wednesday, September 6th, steve mras said:

Famous legs? I thought Katie was famous for her grill?

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