Anchors: A Weigh-in

From The New York Times:

There were no high-tech frills or showy experiments in Diane Sawyer’s brisk first night as anchor of “World News” on ABC. Instead, on Monday, the network draped its star in utter seriousness: Ms. Sawyer gamely sparred with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran about his country’s nuclear intentions and whether his government oppresses street protesters in Tehran.

Original DVD cover

Mr. Ahmadinejad didn’t really answer her questions, but he did address her as “respectable lady.”

Much fuss has been made about the fact that two of the three broadcast anchors are now women, but what Ms. Sawyer’s first nightly news program really signaled is the return of the alpha anchors. Behind a twinkly warmth, honed in countless “Good Morning America” appearances with pets, babies and diet experts, Ms. Sawyer appears to have the same high-octane drive and ambition as Brian Williams and Katie Couric.


Network anchors are a bit like European monarchs: they don’t really matter much anymore, but people still perk up for a royal wedding or a changing of the stars.

CBS, which weathered Dan Rather’s scandal-tinted abdication and the splashy ascension of Katie Couric, carries some of the melodrama and tabloid pizazz of Britain’s royal family. Like NBC before it, ABC News favors more orderly, tame transitions. ABC is closer to a Scandinavian monarchy: if there is an internal scramble for the throne, nobody outside the realm really cares; once crowned, the royals try to play down their privilege.

Ms. Sawyer’s was a studiously understated debut, but Monday’s program did provide some clues of how the tone and tempo of “World News” may change under her leadership. Charles Gibson, who stepped down last week after fewer than four years, brought an affable, unpretentious, slightly rumpled persona to the anchor job: he rarely seemed self-important or in a hurry, and he often let correspondents take on stories that more insecure anchors would hoard for themselves. His farewell on Friday was good-humored and not at all grandiose. He seemed genuinely happy to have had the job and genuinely happy to let it go to someone else.

Ms. Sawyer, who spent 10 years at “Good Morning America” waiting her turn for the top news job, seems intent on exotic travel and big “gets.”

It’s a marked game change for her rivals: just as Ms. Couric in 2006 became the first solo female anchor of a network news show, Brian Williams has spent much of his tenure at “NBC Nightly News” as a young Turk competing against two older, avuncular and laid-back newsmen, Mr. Gibson and Bob Schieffer of CBS, who filled in after Mr. Rather left his post ahead of schedule.

With Ms. Sawyer’s arrival, the three network anchors are evenly matched in looks and take-charge personality.



Filed under humor, Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Media, movies, parody, politics, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

13 responses to “Anchors: A Weigh-in

  1. Ahhh yes, Lady Di takes the Anchor chair…. we all know network news is dictated by corporate sponsors & they are all puppets on a string.
    As you said, if the ratings are good, they will keep her– but since ABC is owned by Walt Disney, if Mickey Mouse as an anchor would get higher ratings….. we’d be hearing the opening line as
    “Hi Kids”……… in that squeaky mouse tone.

    • remember when the news used to be about what’s going on in the world? now the news is the news. i think it’s rather sad that, in 2009, it is still remarkable when a woman has a job that was previously available only to men. i read one article where it was being discussed whether or not there will be designer wars now that there are 2 female anchors. 🙄

  2. jenn/jlms qkw

    i miss walter. it was great to see his clips at the kennedy space center re-enactment of the moon landing.

    and i wish i’d known ed murrow.

    • i remember when my mom would watch the news when i was little, and i was so bored. i wish news shows were a bit more boring today. it’s no longer news, it’s entertainment with a couple of facts sprinkled here and there. news anchors should not be entertainers. whatever happened to gravitas?

  3. It took this long for Diane Sawyer to get the top anchor position? She should have had it years ago.

  4. I think Diane Sawyer makes a very credible news anchor. I was worried about it at first, but I watched her debut and found her delivery to be serious, intelligent and watchable.
    George Stephanopolis is not so great on GMA. He’s a little too starchy.

    • I can see Stephanopolis choking on “and now let’s take a look at the latest handbag fashion designs!”

      Not exactly cutting edge news.

    • i didn’t watch. i don’t watch the network news, and i never watch the morning blather shows. never did like little georgie very much. he looks like a girl i used to room with when i lived in miami. it amazes me that they keep going to the same talent pool. why don’t they find someone new and fresh for the morning shows?

  5. I don’t watch the network or local news. I prefer to remain ignorant.

  6. watching george stand next to either robin roberts or sam champion is quite the sight to behold – he is a good 6-8″ shorter than either of them

    i used to see George at the gym all the time – he was Mr Cellphone before everyone had a cell phone – and he had 2 of them

    as for diane – i actaully like diane – every since she bought my nephew an ice cream when his dropped in front of her in Southampton around 10 years ago. poor kid did realize what that cone was going to do 10 years later.

    • george never thrilled me. i like diane sawyer. she seems like she’d be a genuinely nice person. brian williams and katie couric seem like they’d be nice, too, but katie gets on my last nerve.