Monday, September 18, 2006

Go ahead. Focus on Katie Couric's PR photos. It will help you forget that there's no money in network news.

Jon Friedman -- who recently offered up the earth-shaking opinion that Tim Russert is the best interviewer on TV -- now all too eagerly tells us that Katie Couric has failed. He even shockingly posits that she may be too cute.

That was fast. And, because it is Friedman, predictable.

Much more delicious is Mickey Kaus' theory that "Couric was hired by CBS solely to screw NBC's highly-profitable Today Show!" Now that's how you keep things lively in media punditry. Funditry, if you will.

A really interesting question: would a Couric failure save the future of the CBS news division? If Jeff Jarvis and John Ellis are right, hiring Couric was simply the first step in a CBS plan to ultimately sell its new division to, say, Time Warner, a group who can -- unlike CBS -- turn a profit on a news operation. "[I]t is not hard to imagine that Ms. Couric will lead CBS News into a more competitive stance. At which point, the value of the asset can be realized in a deal. Katie Couric is, metaphorically, the transitional figure between a once-great broadcast news organization and what will almost certainly be the first news division ever sold off by a broadcast network."

In that case, her own colleagues would of course root against Couric's success, wouldn't they?

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