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Monday, November 29, 2004

The Daily News Report - Night After Night After Night
For at least forty years, television viewers in the United States have been treated to a half-hour "evening news"/"nightly news" show from the major networks. While other networks have had one-hour shows (whatever MacNeil/Lehrer is called today), and other networks (Headline News, Bloomberg) show news 24 hours a day, the three largest over-the-air networks have had their half hour news shows.

Now that Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw are departing their respective shows, AP Television Writer David Bauder saw fit to publish an article on the continuing viability of the "institution" (his word) of the nightly news show itself:

Despite the onset of a personnel transition following the remarkable 20-plus year reigns of Brokaw, Rather and Peter Jennings, the broadcasts seem on firmer ground than they did five years ago, when there were many questions about their survival.

"I think the institution still provides the most serious and well-organized look at what's happening in our world every day and in these times, especially, it's a great service. It's as simple as that," said Brokaw, whose last NBC "Nightly News" newscast is Wednesday.

Most evenings, nearly 30 million people watch one of the three programs. Ratings have been sinking steadily, but that's the case for most shows in a fragmented television world; evening news ratings have dropped at a rate 4 percent slower than prime-time broadcast fare over the past decade, according to Nielsen Media Research.

For all the attention they get, the three cable news networks — Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC — don't even get 4 million viewers combined in an average prime time....

The notion that people can work late, skip the broadcast evening news and catch up later on cable isn't necessarily true. Try to find a serious newscast on these networks in prime time, at least before Aaron Brown on CNN at 10 p.m. Eastern time, and you'll be out of luck.

Even CNN Headline News — a dependable network that rotates newscasts every half-hour — plans to experiment with prime-time talk shows in the next year.

Some people can't wait to see Dan Rather go:

RatherBiased.com documents the partisan beliefs of one of the most politicized journalists of our time.


rathergate.com (blog)

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