Work In Progress

I was getting ready to knitpick the CBS Evening News for talking about a "kernel of rice" rather than a "grain of rice," when the ludicrousness of that criticism led me here.

I have enough boards in my eye not to be pointing to someone else's mote.

Katie Couric has taken a beating lately, some of it nitpicking, some of it not. The ratings have dropped and some of the story choices, including the Tom and Katie baby picture plug right out of the box, are worthy of critical scrutiny.

But the newscast's final piece this night was a heart-breaker on a family watching the President's press conference on Iraq while awaiting the return of their dead son/brother/husband's body. Given its propsensity to end the newscast with "happy stories," it was a new zag.

Maybe CBS has not found exactly what it is looking for in its new newscast, though maybe it is on the road to it. Whichever, someone whose opinion I value points out that at least they are trying something, which you need to do in this business when others have been beating you in the ratings. You either outdo them at their own game, or you counterprogram with something different, like a woman in the anchor chair and a different take on the news.

When shows don't change, they get criticized for being in a rut. When they do change and make a misstep or two, they get criticized for that too. Then, if they change back, they get slammed for pulling the trigger too early.

CBS has said the newscast is a work in progress, so I think I will take it at its work and give the show and CBS a little more time to make their case before I start pronouncing sentence.

By John Eggerton