NEW YORK, May 31, 2017 – CBS has announced that Scott Pelley is no longer the anchor of the CBS Evening News. The likely reason: the network has remained mired in third place in network evening news rankings and has consistently failed to close the gap.
Pelley will shortly move back to 60 Minutes. He is currently on assignment for that long running CBS muckraking show and has not yet commented on the network’s decision, the news of which was first reported by the New York Post.
It is unclear who will replace Pelley at the helm of CBS TV’s once prestigious evening news show, but current speculation is that his replacement as anchor could range from Norah O’Donnell, Elaine Quijano and even possibly longtime PBS interviewer personality Charlie Rose.
Pelley has often been critical of the Trump White House. His strident opposition to the current president may or not be the reason behind the network’s 9 percent audience loss for the evening news program when compared with its audience just a year ago – this in spite of the sudden interest in news programming stemming from the results and the aftermath of Election 2016.
Yet according to TV industry website TVNewser, viewership for CBS TV’s flagship news show has dropped 14 percent in the demographics that advertisers seek. Both ABC and NBC have also suffered declining ratings, but both have continued to beat CBS.
Scott Pelley first began anchoring CBS Evening News six years ago, when Katie Couric was maneuvered into stepping down from her anchor slot, also, interestingly enough, due to poor ratings during her turn at the anchor desk.
None of this is positive news, particularly for the longevity of network TV’s current news anchors. Broadcasting has changed considerably from the day of the 1960s and 1970s when outsized network anchor persons and personalities were viewed by much of the nation as purveyors of the absolute truth.
Today, for a variety of reasons, including outright political partisanship primarily favoring left-wing Democrats, evening news broadcast anchors do not have the same influence that famed anchors such as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw had when they reported the evening news. In fact, most of today’s generation of self-important blow-dries are increasingly being ignored entirely
Evening news broadcasts are not able to keep up with the constant news flow coming out of the Trump administration. Evening news ratings are also going down because of viewers turning to cable networks like Fox News.
Yet even Fox News’ long dominant star has begun to fade as that network has essentially axed most of its prime-time dominating personalities in an apparently misguided attempt to look and feel more liberal. It hasn’t worked for them, by the way, as they’ve now dropped from the #1 to the #3 position in cable network news as of the latest surveys.
CBS is expected make a formal announcement on Wednesday and Pelley is expected to have one final appearance on CBS Evening News, giving him the opportunity to say goodbye to his viewers. It’s probably the least they can do for this reliably partisan hack who’s faithfully saluted the CBS party line throughout his network career of some 30 years.