Dan Rather will be leaving his anchor position at CBS Evening News. I haven't really gloated about this online, despite my dislike for what CBS News has become, mainly because I don't see any evidence that CBS is really going to fix anything. I mean, one clue that they are not really serious about change is that Dan Rather will be refocusing his time on 60 Minutes, the very forum that caused many of his most recent troubles in the first place.
Anyway, who should replace Dan? My gut feel is that they will choose some stiff who has put in his time for decades at CBS, but I don't think that will do much to improve ratings. What would? How about these suggestions:
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.
Leave your own ideas in the comments section!
I want to expand on the idea in the comment below. I think it would be a great idea to just run "best of" news broadcasts when Dan is out, like they did during Carson's frequent nights off late in his tenure. The interesting part would be to see if anyone noticed.
Welcome Carnival of the Vanities. If your missed our Carnival of the Capitalists posts on reverse auctions and why Priceline really succeeded, see here. Or just browse around our most recent posts here. And, don't forget to vote in the 2004 Weblog Awards!
For a more serious handicapping of replacements, check out Rathergate.com and at RatherBiased.