If I worked for a network, I’d want to work for CBS. Not because of its relative success, but because once Les Moonves invests in you, if he’s in for a penny, he’s in for a pound. He’s patient and loyal. All good traits in the guy signing your paycheck!

I might be exaggerating Mr. Moonves’ traits, especially considering all the pennies that were paid to Katie Couric. But Friday’s New York Times includes a report on Wednesday’s experiment where The New Adventures of Old Christine will be bumped for a special prime-time edition of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

The article makes it clear that this is a one-time experiment not intended to push the idea of having a broadcast network air a news show in prime-time, but to potentially expose more people to the struggling CBS Evening News.

While pundits and pundit wanabees (including us) had long ago predicted the end of the Katie Couric era at CBS News, it seems she got a bit of revival out of her interview with Sarah Palin. I’m torn between thinking, “yeah, that reeks of desperation” and “good for you, CBS!”. It’s pretty low-risk on CBS’ part as it’s not like The New Adventures of Old Christine has been setting the Nielsen ratings on fire.

According to the article, Couric also will get a prime-time special interview show on February 4th at 9pm that is tied to the Grammy Awards.

Sadly for CBS, as sluggish as Old Christine’s ratings have been this year, the prime-time evening news experiment:

  1. doesn’t seem likely to out-rate Old Christine
  2. doesn’t seem likely to draw a lot of viewers period, let alone among 18-49 and 25-54 year olds
  3. won’t likely do anything much in terms of building audience for the CBS Evening News

But again, it seems a fairly low risk experiment so even if it does reek a bit of desperation, good for you CBS.

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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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