Couric and Sawyer's Ratings Plummet as Williams' Rise

The folks at ABC and CBS News are certainly not humming Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" this morning given the plummeting ratings of their respective evening anchors Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric.

Adding insult to injury, Brian Williams' numbers continue to climb.

So reported the New York Times Friday in a piece destined to raise some liberal media eyebrows:

[T]he ratings report for the first quarter of the year [showed] that [ABC's] evening newscast, “World News,” had sunk to the lowest numbers the program has had in a first quarter since the People Meter was introduced by Nielsen in 1987.

The same situation prevailed at CBS, where the “Evening News” also hit a new low for the months of January through March.

The beneficiary was NBC, where “Nightly News” scored its best first-quarter numbers since 2005.

Over all, the numbers were: 9.92 million viewers for NBC; 8.27 million for ABC and 6.45 million for CBS.

Ouch. 

Is this an industry problem? 

Not really. The number of viewers still watching the three shows together — more than 24 million in the first quarter — continue to dwarf any news program on cable.

But “World News” has had a falloff since Diane Sawyer took over for Charles Gibson. The show is down about 3 percent — 215,000 — from a year ago.

And, Couric's numbers have continued to fall since the excitement over her September 2006 debut as "CBS Evening News" anchor waned.

Yet, the Times piece chose to ignore the possibility that she was a bad hire at the time, especially given her lofty salary.

Was Couric really the best replacement for Bob Schieffer in 2006, or did CBS News just want to hire a woman regardless of her qualifications?

Is the same reverse sexism now being displayed at ABC News which after promoting Sawyer to "World News" anchor has recently announced that Christiane Amanpour will be the new host of Sunday's "This Week?"

To be sure, it's way too soon to call Sawyer a failure in her new roll. But Couric's numbers are dismal, and if Williams continues to attract new viewers as the ratings of "World" and "Evening" News decline, one has to wonder which network will blink first.

Ironically, if either Couric or Sawyer were to eventually be replaced by a man, you can be sure liberal media members across the country will blame sexism.

All together now, "I am woman, hear me roar. In numbers too big to ignore."

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.