Rush Limbaugh Takes Advantage of Couric Piling On; Phil Metlin Leaves WTVT
First, there was news last week of a Gallup Poll that showed more people know -- and dislike -- Couric than her two other competitors. (16 percent hated ABC anchor Charles Gibson, 18 percent hated NBC's Brian Williams; Couric earned a whopping 33 percent of respondents' hate).
Now comes reports that Couric's show notched the worst numbers in at least 20 years last week, drawing just 6.05-million viewers during the first week of May's "sweeps" ratings period. that's a long way from the 10 million viewers she drew in her first week as anchor, and a drop from the 7-million she was averaging on her six-month anniversary.
It's gotten so bad, radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh has offered to sit for an extensive interview for the CBS Evening News. He must have a soft spot for Couric already -- he appeared in one of the early commentary segments once featured on the newscast called "Free Speech" -- and he likely realizes that, with such a small newshole, the broadcast can't really excavate his life and work the way, say, 60 Minutes could. (a CBS spokeswoman, by the way, had no idea he'd made the offer)
His offer, made today: " I've had 20/20 after me. Good Morning America has been after me. Everybody has been after me, you know, for the last three or four years, and I've turned them all down. I was not ready to speak. I am willing. In order to help Les Moonves and CBS and Katie Couric, I will offer myself. I'm Rush Limbaugh. I am ratings, as I said yesterday, and in an effort to save the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, I make this public offer today..."
As a guy who predicted this mess almost a year ago, I should be happy. But instead I'm dismayed by all the people dancing on Couric's grave before she's even logged a year in the job.
News ratings move slowly. Couric should have developed a strong, new vision for the show and stuck with it for a year. Now is the time for Couric to force everyone to take a breath by developing a newscast which plays to her strengths and sticking with it for a good while.
Phil Metlin Leaves WTVT-Ch. 13
Phil Metlin, the vice president of news at Tampa Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13 is leaving the station May 19 to take over as news director for WTXF-TV in Philadelphis. Metlin, the longest-tenured TV news VP in the market with 10 years on the job at WTVT, was in Philadelphia today to meet the staff there as folks at WTXP and here in Tampa were told at the same time.
Why should you care if you don't work in local TV? Because Metlin was a longtime cool head who seemed to keep WTVT's news operations independent from Fox's corporate influence as much as possible. Whether that will continue now that he's gone -- and as Fox demands more standardization among its owned and operated stations -- remains an open question.