Under Pelley, ‘CBS Evening News’ Sees Better Ratings

When Scott Pelley took over the CBS EVENING NEWS from Katie Couric in June, 2011, he had his work cut out for him: despite the fact that it did well here in the Lowcountry, the show had been a distant third place for years nationally with lots of effort put into turning that around, but with far too little success.

CBS-NEWS-Scott-PelleyThe latest ratings measurements tell a story of continued success.

The CBS EVENING NEWS is the only network evening news broadcast to se year-to-year ratings increases in what is known as the “key demo,” in this case, Adults 25-54. That age group is referred to as the “key demo” in the network news audience because that’s the one advertisers are most interested in attracting. Continue reading

20 CBS Shows Renewed So Far

CBS’s crime drama CRIMINAL MINDS will be back for its 11th season in the fall, an announcement that marks CBS’s 20th renewal for the 2013-14 season.

Here’s a complete list of the shows the network confirmed for renewal so far:

  • THE AMAZING RACE
  • THE BIG BANG THEORY
  • BLUE BLOODS
  • CRIMINAL MINDS
  • CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION
  • ELEMENTARY
  • 48 HOURS
  • THE GOOD WIFE
  • HAWAII FIVE-0
  • HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
  • THE MENTALIST
  • MIKE & MOLLY
  • NCIS
  • NCIS: LOS ANGELES
  • PERSON OF INTEREST
  • 60 MINUTES
  • SURVIVOR
  • TWO AND A HALF MEN
  • 2 BROKE GIRLS
  • UNDERCOVER BOSS

Last week, the network announced the renewal of TWO AND A HALF MEN for an 11th season, although the fate of co-star Angus T. Jones, who plays the “half” man, Jake, was still subject to contract negotiations. TWO-AND-A-HALF-MEN-KUTCHERHe didn’t appear as often this past season because of a military storyline. He is said to be interested in pursuing college and music, but after a controversial religious video in which he slammed the show went viral, many have speculated about what his future with the show might be.

Only newcomers PARTNERS and MADE IN JERSEY were canceled from last season.

The remaining shows on CBS’s prime time lineup are still waiting to hear their fates. Those shows are RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, VEGAS, THE GOLDEN BOY and CSI:NY.

Which shows are you most excited to see returning for another season?

CBS Leads in Daytime Emmy Nominations

With fewer and fewer soaps on the air, it’s probably not a surprise that CBS, the network with more soaps than any other (by virtue of having only two of them), leads in the number of daytime Emmy Award nominations.

EmmyAwardStill, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, the number one soap in daytime, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, earned 23 nominations, more than any other show. Among them are nods for Outstanding Drama Series, one it shares with its sister soap, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFULB&B earned 15 nominations.

The only two remaining network game shows, THE PRICE IS RIGHT and LET’S MAKE A DEAL, were both nominated in the Outstanding Game Show category. DEAL’s Wayne Brady also received a nomination for Outstanding Game Show Host. THE TALK was honored as a nominee for Outstanding Talk/Entertainment Program, while the syndicated THE DOCTORS received a nomination in the Outstanding Talk/Informative category.

CBS NEWS SUNDAY MORNING received a nomination for Outstanding Morning Program.

Actress Susan Flannery, who retired from the role of matriarch Stephanie Forrester on B&B, received a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, where she’ll compete against former B&B co-star Heather Tom (Katie) and Y&R’s Michelle Stafford (Phyllis). On the male side, Y&R’s Peter Bergman (Jack), Doug Davidson (Paul) and Michael Muhney (Adam) are among the nominees.

Game show legends Monty Hall, who co-created and hosted the Let’s Make a Deal for most of its run on television; and Bob Stewart, creator of venerable shows like The Price is Right, PASSWORD and THE $25,000 PYRAMID, will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards. Hall, 91, appeared recently on the current version of his show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its premiere. Stewart passed away at age 91 last May.

The Daytime Emmy Awards will air in June on HLN.

Pelley’s Evening News Shows Growth

There’s good news and not-as-good news on ratings for the CBS EVENING NEWS with SCOTT PELLEY.

The good news is that ratings have increased 5% year to year from the same week last year when Katie Couric was the primary anchor.  The comparison involved the week of July 4th.

The not-as-good news is that both NBC and ABC also saw a 5% increase in their evening newscasts’ ratings that week.

So on one hand, the show is performing better than last year, but on the other, it’s still the same distance in ratings from the NBC and ABC.

Still, no one at CBS News claims to have expected overnight improvement in ratings for a show that has been the number 3 news broadcast for years.  And Pelley has largely won over critics who feel he is definitely adding more substance to the newscast.

So we’ll have to wait and see whether the increase continues.

Pelley Debut Wins Acclaim

Scott Pelley’s first newscast is behind him, and for the most part, critics seem to be pleased with what they saw.

Several have praised the Texas-born Pelley for not leading Monday’s CBS EVENING NEWS with the Rep. Anthony Weiner drama.  NBC’s Bryan Williams led with the story of the New York politician who held a press conference to confirm that a suggestive body photo sent via Twitter was, in fact, of himself.

At the Washington Post, Hank Stuever praised Pelley for taking the high road, leading with a six-minute-long report on Afghanistan, the five American soldiers who were just killed there, and the future of America’s involvement in the region.  Stuever described it as “a ray of serious sunshine on the future of TV journalism.”

At the New York Times, Allesandra Stanley was happy that Pelley resisted leading with the late-breaking sex drama, adding that by the time Pelley did get around to mentioning the story, he asked a congressional correspondent why Weiner even mattered.  Stanley says Pelley signaled that he’s a “no-nonsense news man.”

At the same time, she questioned whether he could really bring “world-class reporting” of 60 MINUTES to the nightly broadcast.  She also questioned whether CBS might be subtly trying to suggest that Pelley is a return to the “glory days” of CBS News, mentioning that the gold world map behind Pelley is a replica of the map that hung behind Walter Cronkite when he was anchor of the broadcast.

Unmentioned was the fact that the network even returned to the  theme music it used from 1987 until 1991.

Whether Pelley will accomplish that return to the network’s glory days remains to be seen, and that’s a question that will likely to take a long time to answer.  But if his debut is any indication, the new man at the anchor desk doesn’t want it to be all about him, but about the stories and what they mean to the audience.

And isn’t that what we all want in a news anchor?

Couric Set to Depart Evening News Thursday

Katie Couric’s last day as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS will be this Thursday.

Couric made the announcement at the conclusion of Friday’s broadcast, ending speculation on how close to the end of her contract she’d actually remain at the big desk.

Her replacement, 60 MINUTES correspondent Scott Pelley, won’t take over anchoring duties until June 6th, which will leave a hole to be filled by rotating anchors.  One likely fill-in will be Harry Smith, who was appointed the show’s primary fill-in anchor when he was taken off THE EARLY SHOW in January.

Couric also said that on Thursday’s broadcast, she would relive some of the big stories covered during her five years at CBS News.

Pelley Officially Named Evening News Anchor

CBS has finally made official the announcement everyone already expected:  60 MINUTES correspondent Scott Pelley will become the next anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS when current anchor Katie Couric departs.

The change will take effect on June 6th, according to new information from the network.  Pelley will continue to report on 60 MINUTES.

“Scott has it all. He has the experience, the credibility and he is among the very best reporters ever to work at CBS News,” said CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager. “In more than two decades at CBS News, he has distinguished himself at every level, right up to his current role at ’60 Minutes,’ where his work has been incomparable. We like to think of CBS News as the ‘reporter’s network’ and I can’t think of anybody in this business better suited for the anchor chair than Scott.”

“I am delighted to join the terrific team at the ‘CBS Evening News,'” Pelley said. “It’s a privilege to work alongside the most gifted and talented journalists in the industry.”

Pelley, 53, joined CBS News in 1989, and has been a correspondent on the venerable 60 MINUTES since 2004.  Couric, 54, leaves the broadcast following a five year run in the anchor chair that never boosted the program’s ratings as network executives hoped.

Despite that, Couric’s CBS EVENING NEWS pulled higher household ratings in the Lowcountry than nationally-top-ranked NBC Nightly News. 

It’s Official…Sort of.

An unnamed CBS source confirmed over the weekend that Katie Couric will leave her CBS EVENING NEWS anchor slot.

I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself from the shock of that announcement.

Couric, who has been rumored to be “this close” to leaving for more than a year now, hasn’t announced any official plans. The source, who spoke to the Associated Press anonymously because Couric has made no such announcement, couldn’t provide a date that Couric would step down or the name of her replacement.

Her contract expires in early June. Speculation of late has placed 60 MINUTES correspondent Scott Pelley as the leading contender to replace her. But there’s also Harry Smith, who left CBS’s EARLY SHOW in January to become the primary substitute anchor for Couric, Bob Schieffer on FACE THE NATION and Charles Osgood on SUNDAY MORNING.

Russ Mitchell may also be an internal candidate, the AP reports.

But even with three solid options in-house, that doesn’t mean that CBS wouldn’t seriously consider bringing in someone from outside CBS News.

So we’re left with only a slightly more credible story that the 54-year-old Couric’s tenure on the evening newscast is coming to an end.

Some time. Likely soon.

Or not.

Insiders: Couric offered ’60 Minutes’ slot

Katie Couric/©CBS, Inc.

Over the weekend, speculation began circulating that 60 MINUTES correspondent Scott Pelley was a leading contender to take over the CBS EVENING NEWS when Katie Couric’s contract is up.  Insiders at the network told the New York Post that Couric has been offered a package that would move her to the venerable news magazine.

The offer could be attractive enough to persuade Couric to do a possible syndicated daytime talk show through CBS, which is the largest syndicator.

Pelley, 53, has been with CBS since 1989, and has been a 60 MINUTES correspondent since 2004.  Before that, he contributed to 60 MINUTES II, and previously served as the network’s chief White House correspondent.

Couric, 54, who left NBC’s Today show to take over the CBS EVENING NEWS in 2006, is wrapping up a five-year contract which expires this June.  Early speculation suggested that CBS would ask Couric to remain in that position through the 2012 elections, but the newest rumors say Couric and Pelley could trade places sooner than that.

Curiously unmentioned in the rumor mill is CBS Senior Correspondent Harry Smith, who left THE EARLY SHOW this past January to become the primary substitute anchor for Couric, and also for Bob Schieffer on FACE THE NATION and Charles Osgood on SUNDAY MORNING.  Couric is said to be on vacation this week, so Smith is the likely fill-in.

Though Couric never brought CBS the evening news ratings success executives were hoping for, here in the Lowcountry, the CBS EVENING NEWS scored better in February in household viewers than the nationally top-rated NBC Nightly News.

Anchor Changes on the Way to Early Show

CBS’s morning program, THE EARLY SHOW, is undergoing major anchor changes, CBS News has confirmed.

Harry Smith/CBS

As reported by the Associated Press and TV Newser, anchors Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Price are leaving the show.

Chris Wragge and Erica Hill, current anchors of the Saturday edition of the program, and Marysol Castro, a former weather correspondent of ABC’s Good Morning, America, will replace them.  Jeff Glor will be the news anchor in the new lineup.

The new lineup will debut on January 3rd, CBS News President Sean McManus said.

“We constantly focus on how to improve the broadcast, and we think we have a terrific combination in Erica, Chris, Jeff and Marysol. This new team brings vibrancy, intelligence and warmth that I think America will grow to love,” McManus said.

Maggie Rodriguez/CBS

Wragge and Hill have co-anchored the Saturday Edition of THE EARLY SHOW since 2008.  Hill also has been News Anchor for THE EARLY SHOW since January of this year. Wragge has also been co-anchor of CBS 2 News at 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM in New York, the nation’s largest market, a position he has held since 2006.

Glor has anchored the Saturday edition of the CBS EVENING NEWS and been a National Correspondent reporting for all CBS News broadcasts since 2009.  He has also been a substitute anchor for the CBS EVENING NEWS since March 2007. Castro served as the weather and feature correspondent of ABC News’ weekend edition of Good Morning America from 2004 to 2010.

Dave Price/CBS

CBS has confirmed that Smith, Rodriquez and Price will continue at CBS News in new roles.

Smith will shift his focus to hard news with an expanded role as primary substitute anchor on the CBS EVENING NEWS, FACE THE NATION and SUNDAY MORNING, while continuing to report major stories for all CBS News broadcasts. Smith has been anchor of THE EARLY SHOW since October, 2002, and previously anchored a past morning news program for the network, CBS THIS MORNING, from 1987 to 1996. He joined CBS News in 1986.

Discussions are currently underway concerning the roles Rodriquez and Price will have. Rodriguez joined THE EARLY SHOW in December 2007 and is also a substitute anchor on the CBS EVENING NEWS. Price joined CBS News in July, 2003.

CBS’s EARLY SHOW has been the third-rated morning news program and has struggled for years in ratings against GMA and NBC’s Today.

THE EARLY SHOW airs weekdays 7:00-9:00am, following the Lowcountry’s top-rated local early news program, LIVE 5 NEWS THIS MORNING.