CBS Anchor Suggestions

These were the suggestions I made 6 years ago to replace Dan Rather.  Some of the names are a bit dated, but I think many would have worked out as well as Couric.  I think the last suggestion is, if anything, even more timely.

Improve ratings approach #1:  Finally get rid of the pretense that anchors are journalists rather than pretty talking heads.  Hire Nicollette Sheridan, or maybe Terri Hatcher.  Or, if you feel CBS News deserves more gravitas, in the Murrow tradition, how about Meryl Streep?

Improve ratings approach #2:  Go with comedy.  Bring in David Letterman from the Late Show to anchor the evening news.  "Tonight, we start with the growing UN oil for food scandal.  Uma – Anann.  Anann – Uma."  Or, if you want to segment the market differently, how about Tim Allen and the CBS News for Guys.  Or, if CBS wants to keep hitting the older demographic – what about Chevy Chase – certainly he already has anchor experience from SNL.

Improving Credibility Choice:  No one in the MSM really has much credibility left after the last election, but there is one man who would bring instant credibility to CBS News — Bob Costas.  CBS should hire him away from NBC, like they did with Letterman.  Make him the evening news anchor.  Heck, if Bryant Gumbell can make the transition to the news division, certainly Costas can.

Become the acknowledged liberal counterpoint to Fox:  Hire Bill Clinton as anchor.  Nothing would generate more buzz than that hire, and he is at loose ends anyway (and think about all those wonderful business trips away from home…)  If Bill is not available, try James Carville.  I might even have to watch that.

Let the public decide:  Forget making a decision, and just create a new reality show like ESPN’s Dream Job to choose the next anchor.  Each week the 12 finalists can be given a new task.  In week one, they have to pick up incriminating evidence about the President at a rodeo.  In week 2, they have to forge a believable set of documents from the early 70′s, and survive criticism from about 10,000 bloggers.  They can kick one off the island each week based on the viewers votes.


  1. CoderInCrisis:

    CNN tried #1 when they hired actress Andrea Thompson (admittedly not a household name unless you were a Babylon 5 fan, as I was), who actually did have (very little) journalism experience. As I remember, they were excoriated for "cheapening" their news organization. As they have no journalistic integrity left, though, that may not be a problem anymore.

    I actually approved of the move back then, knowing that a news anchor is a pretty talking head with incredible hair and not much more.

    The Bob Costas move is a nice idea, too, since I never watch the news and would thus be spared from him invading my sports programming, the insufferable know-it-all twit.

  2. Doug:

    It might help if they adopt the British term for the position - "news reader".

  3. Joseph K:

    I like the last idea. Though, the challenges and set up you set out are, intentionally so, a bit ridiculous, I'm sure this could be done in a way to preserve the decorum that people expect of a news anchor. You could find a number of respected journalists, columnists, entertainers and pundits and give them brief stints as anchor, cycling through them over many weeks, and getting lots of feedback from viewers. The more you get viewers involved in this process, the more likely they are to be interested.

  4. Mike Tr.:

    The essential problem with Katie Couric is that she sings when she talks. Half the notes strangely evoke happiness, astonishment, and surprise at inappropriate moments. The notes go all over, in any report of anything. It is like opera about a random topic. Scott Pelly will kick ass. Brian Williams of NBC is good, but Scott Pelly is good too.

  5. Dan:

    You missed an obvious choice: Replace the CBS evening News with The Daily Show. They are already operating under the Viacom umbrella, so it should be easy enough contractually, and since apprently more young viewers watch Stewart already, you get the demographic kick even if the ratings don't improve.

  6. marco73:

    Wil Ferrell as Ron Burgundy. Can't be half as stupid as the Katie Couric hire. Stay classy, Planet Earth.

  7. caseyboy:

    I heard Rush Limbaugh was being offered the job, but he didn't want to take a pay cut.

  8. Mesa Econoguy:

    How about an empty chair, since that would get as many viewers as Katie did?

    Great career move for Dan Rather, btw. He must be proud to share HDNet airtime with such journalistic triumphs as Art Mann Presents, and Girls Gone Wild, the TV series.

  9. Sam L.:

    #2--Letterman isn't funny to a lot of us. He's a leftie, so a good fit for CBS, and already an employee, but: could they stand the loss of revenue if he changed? Could/would he do both? How about Connie Chung's hubby, Maury What'shisname?