STAR*BRIAN STAR*BRIAN: Is Network News "Dying" ? *

Talking points on current events

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Is Network News "Dying" ?

On Tuesday, April 19, former ABC newsman Sam Donaldson declared network news “dead.”

Speaking at a breakfast panel for the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, Donaldson went on to say that the days of the “monster” news anchor are long gone.

Even with over 30 million viewers a night, what would lead a former insider to claim network news is dying? CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC would love to have those numbers. Bill O’Reilly gets about 6 million a night, and CNN’s top rated show gets about half of that. MSNBC is barely on the map.

While 30 million viewers is nothing to laugh at, it is about half of what it was 30 years ago, and continues to grow smaller each year. So when did the shift start?

Blame CNN

In the 90’s, CNN did something unheard of, cover a war – live. At almost any point in the day, you could tune in and see the progress over in the Gulf. Since then, Fox News and MSNBC have hit the airwaves. Matt Drudge became a, almost, household name when he broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal, on the internet, during the Clinton administration.

Today, newspapers are too late. Network news is late. We can tune in to the internet or cable and know what’s going on in the world, all in a matter of minutes. By the time we get home, we know the big news of the day. Only local news has any impact.

As Sam Donaldson points out, if something huge, like the President being shot, were to happen; people would turn to cable or the internet. God forbid someone breaks into General Hospital or CSI. And, ABC is even testing new shows for the long running “Night Line” time slot.

With Tom Brokaw retired, Dan Rather “retiring”, and Peter Jennings fighting cancer, network news is encountering a facelift. Looking ahead, it may not be the kind they wanted.


Blogger tomawesome said...

tv news ~is~ dying. the internet is taking over.

7:05 PM


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