Despite the much-ballyhooed hiring of Katie Couric as anchor for the CBS Evening News, her tenure has seen the show’s ratings slip beneath the numbers interim anchor Bob Schieffer was drawing a year ago. Just as in baseball, when the $15 million a year players aren’t producing, the manager gets fired. In this case, it is Couric’s producer. Bill Carter reports for The New York Times:
In the latest disruption, CBS News replaced Rome Hartman, the executive producer of the “Evening News with Katie Couric,” with the long-time TV news executive and producer Rick Kaplan, said several people who were informed of the move.
The decision follows a run of disappointing ratings for the CBS newscast, which had introduced Ms. Couric as its anchor with great fanfare in September. Though the program initially scored impressive ratings, and had increased ratings among some audience groups like younger women, it had sunk back to its long-established spot of last place among the three network newscasts in terms of total viewers.
In recent weeks, the newscast had fallen short of the audience totals achieved this time last year by Bob Schieffer, the anchor that Ms. Couric replaced. CBS executives had made it clear that they expected the program to be more competitive.
CBS News executives, contacted last night, declined to comment. But two of the people who were informed of the decision said that Mr. Hartman was told after last night’s newscast.
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Brian Williams is also in the red at NBC. It seems the tide towards the cutest talking heads may have crested. At the very least, it has jumped the shark.