Wednesday, June 13, 2007 / Companies / Media & internet - CBS blames sexism for bad ratings / Companies / Media & internet - CBS blames sexism for bad ratings: "Leslie Moonves, CBS chief executive, on Tuesday suggested that sexist attitudes were partly to blame for the faltering performance of Katie Couric, the news anchor he recruited to the network with a $15m annual pay package.
“I’m sort of surprised by the vitriol against her. The number of people who don’t want news from a woman was startling,” Mr Moonves said of the audience’s reaction to Ms Couric, who this month brought ratings for the CBS Evening News to a 20-year low."

I strongly doubt that Couric's ratings have anything to do with her gender. In fact, it is probably that they liked her more when she was more herself, playful and funny, on the Today Show than her seemingly unnatural starched persona on the Nightly News. I wondered about that when she took the job. She was ever so popular for a very long run at the Today Show, but this is really a shift for folks to see her this way. To think that Average Americans don't want news from women is dopey and ignoring the fact that we get a boatload of news from women all over the place. There is no shortage of women on news channels and women who are foreign and war correspondents. And we all need to take a deep breath and remember that people generally don't choose to like or dislike people for the big buzz issues. Generally the choice to like or dislike is based on more human concerns like relatability and whether or not the person is or seems genuine. Katie seemed more genuine and people had long related to her as her more casual self. Now they have rejected her as a back-straight-no-smiles person in the evening. Another problem is that CBS is trying to get key demographics from this newscast, a demo that has never had big numbers on any of the top three network newscasts. The 18-40 demo doesn't watch the evening news and never has in large numbers. These are people who work late, read their news on their Blackberries on the train or on the computer, and DVR their favorite shows at night. If Dan Rather did anything right, he targeted the people who had always watched the evening news, the grey-hairs. To do anything else seems wildly unwise.

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