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'Balloon animal' Couric scorched by AOL users

CBS anchorwoman Katie Couric

Is Katie Couric personally responsible for the ratings plunge at the “CBS Evening News”?

A poll of America Online users might have some wondering, as 8 in 10 respondents say the move by the former co-host of NBC’s “Today” show to CBS was a bad decision for both Couric and the Tiffany Network.

With some 300,000 votes in the unscientific survey this week, 82 percent responded “No” when asked “Was switching to CBS a good move for Couric?” and 78 percent also answered in the negative when asked, “Was choosing Couric a good move for CBS?”

When given two choices of where they’d rather watch Couric – on “Today” or the “CBS Evening News” – only 11 percent chose her current position. Regarding predictions of Couric’s future ratings at CBS, a majority – 55 percent – felt they would continue to plummet, while 32 percent thought they’d remain constant, and 13 percent expected a jump.

The survey sparked over a thousand personal comments about Couric and CBS on a related messageboard, with some stating:


The “CBS Evening News” had historically low ratings last month, averaging 7.6 million viewers, down 6 percent from what her predecessor, Bob Schieffer, recorded in February 2006.

Last week, the network announced it was making Rick Kaplan, a former president at CNN and MSNBC, as its new executive producer for the “Evening News.”

Some have questioned the decision, based on Kaplan’s three-decade-long personal friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Brent Baker, vice president of the Media Research Center, a group which exposes bias, noted: “Kaplan has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on ‘Nightline.’ Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and once even declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather’s ‘legacy’ was ‘the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to.'”

As WND reported last month, in her CBS blog the day after the Oscars, Couric fretted that Hollywood’s overwhelming embrace of former Vice President Al Gore and the politics of global warming might prove to be a political setback with the hicks in the sticks.

“But my fervent hope is that Hollywood’s embrace of Al Gore doesn’t give people an excuse to condemn and mock the effort – and oppose taking steps that we as a society need to take to deal with the issue of climate change,” she said. “Some people find anything trendy repugnant, but this is a trend that’s really important.”


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