Robert wrote last October about liking the Katie Couric experiment:
"I like the Katie Couric experiment. Why? Because news has a problem. I don’t care if it’s broadcast, cable or the local news (and oh yeah, newspapers!). They all have the same problem: almost everyone under the age of 40 who wants to know “who won the game” or what the weather is going to be like tomorrow - they just look it up on the internet."
But at some point enough is enough. Ratings continued to slide, and if the goal was to attract younger viewers back to the nightly news, there's no evidence this happened. There is some evidence that the experiement actually alienated some of CBS' older viewers to the point where they stopped watching CBS news.
We probably should've seen this coming when we saw the column in last Monday's Washington Post where Couric said:
"I've never really judged my worth by ratings. It was nice to be number one on the 'Today' show, but to me it was more important to do a good show. Our broadcast, I think, is of really good quality. Hopefully more people will come to it. I feel really good about the job I'm doing every single night."
She has produced no improvement at all in the ratings for the CBS Evening News, and at some point even a noble experiment has got to be enough for our friend Les Moonves.
Last place, with no momentum to speak of. Even Robert agrees, but his former boss at IBM just wrote a book called "Do It Wrong Quickly," and the data is in: the experiment didn't work. Below is the most recent weekly broadcast news chart, and here's a data table back to last July.
Full TV Ratings Data for NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight and CBS Evening News:
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2007 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.