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Katie Couric Is Ready for Her Close-Up

It’s been a rough couple of years for the anchor of the last-place network newscast, but Katie Couric managed to silence many of her critics this week with an interview series that not only got a lot of attention, but scored points for her tough but fair style.

What might be dismissed as gotcha journalism by some sounded like follow-up questions to others. Couric managed to expose Palin as a neophyte without drawing a peep of criticism from the McCain campaign. That’s really saying something, since Steve Schmidt and friends have managed to find fault with just about everyone, tough, fair or otherwise.

It turns out that Couric’s broadcast actually lost viewers compared with the previous year but, as The New York Times reports, between the YouTube clips, the highlights on other networks and the “Saturday Night Live” semi-parody, Couric got plenty of attention this week, and she probably deserved it.


New York Times:

The first interview last Wednesday, for example, has been viewed more than 1.4 million times on YouTube, while the parody of the interview on “SNL” was streamed more than 4 million times on NBC.com, viewed in full more than 600,000 times on YouTube and in shorter clips many more hundreds of thousands of times.

Still, the “CBS Evening News” gained only about 10 percent in audience from the previous week — and it was actually down from the same week the year before. The newscast averaged just under 6 million viewers for the week, up from 5.44 million the previous week. A year ago Ms. Couric’s program drew about 6.2 million viewers. (CBS was also a distant third last week behind ABC, which won with 8.07 million viewers, and NBC, with 7.98 million.)

The CBS newscast didn’t even record its highest audience totals last Wednesday and Thursday, when the interviews were broadcast. Monday was the network’s best-rated night of the week.

But the week was still considered, by executives from both CBS and its rivals, to be among the best Ms. Couric has experienced since she joined the newscast two years ago. Jon Klein, the president of CNN’s domestic operations, said, “It was brand-building for a woman who is still one of the very best journalists out there.”

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