Not long before he died, Mike Royko defended female lookers holding down top TV news anchor posts, saying whenever he got up in the morning and looked in the mirror at himself, all he saw was ugly, ugly, uglyand he certainly didnt want to continue with ugly when he watched TV news. I wholeheartedly share that viewof his having been ugly, of me being ugly, too, but more importantly to have a female looker on morning TV (because I dont watch network evenings). The thing to remember is that commercial TV is a wafer-lite medium; since Omnibus with Alistair Cooke there has been no such thing as a profound commercial TV experience, so the thing to do is to follow it down to decadence and go for looks. If you must ask, my personal choice for CBS anchor is Naomi Watts, the female lead in King Kong but compared to all who anchor in the mornings, male and female, she is obviously over-qualified intellectually for the job.
That said, I have long been an admirer of Katie Couric, her giggle, the beguilingly school-girlish way she tosses her hair when confronting the great issues. There was a time when broadcast TV had a true female intellectto cover the State Department. She was Pauline Frederick, a nice middle-aged overweight lady with tailored clothes, sensible shoes and a bun in the back who could easily analyze the Yalta papers. It was said, erroneously, that she and the bachelor UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson were fond of each other but that gentlemen, falsely accused of being uninterested in women due to lack of testosterone, was actually engaged in serious nightly discussions of the great issues with first that titanic intellect, Joan Fontaine as well as his deputy ambassador, Marietta Tree. Who were great lookers. This great statesman died of massive heart attack on a London sidewalk while Tree sought vainly to revive him by giving him what she tenderly described as the kiss of life. Then it was left to that oftentimes sodden bum Randolph Churchill, a former intimate of Tree, to say that if her kiss of life didnt stir Adlai, he was truly dead.
Courics move to CBS Evening News means I wont see her anymore since at that time I watch the only serious TV news, Special Report with Britt Hume which features no lookers (unless you have a thing for Mara Liasson of NPR for which, I sympathize with you). However for mornings, I am consoled that Meredith Vieira who is the porcelain looker on ABCs The View and Disneys Do You Want to Be a Millionaire? may be moving in to NBC to handle Courics old job. I take it she wont be asked to conduct a morning prime time demonstration of how to put on condom over a penis replica as Couric did after Magic Johnson came down with HIV. Indubitably the low point even for a medium which already had debased the public taste, because they billed this abuse of innocent child watchers as educational. If she couldnt, a good pick would be Campbell Brown who does the weekend Today job, but perhaps she wouldnt do because I perceive that in her reporting, shes too smart and too well-bred to do the condom bit that Couric had no trouble with.
TV is a great scam and the only thing I cant handle about the Couric matter is Les Moonves pretending that she was hired to add depth and ballast to his team. Comon, shes a marketing prop (just as a lot of pretty boys are), with a smile for which the word perky was inventeda smile that causes people to tune in
making big bucks for NBC which CBS hopes can work for it after the demise of Dan Rather who was caught faking 60 Minutes to get George W. Bush. Sure, shes worked at ABC, CNN, NBC and stations in Miami and Washington but leave it there: shes a marketing prop. Not like the Tribunes front-page puff piece enthused today (shes covered the Pentagon, wars and has grilled presidentsright out of CBSs flack shop: as if this grizzled veteran journalist just happens to be a looker with a beguiling kid smilepuleeze!). She confronted David Duke KKK guy running for governor of Georgia for the Today show: bet that took guts! How courageous a confrontation! Coming up: Katie Couric confronts Eichmanns kid!
Looker or non-looker, CBS hasnt had anyone with depth and ballast since non-looker Larry LeSeuer (about 275 lbs. worth), their Paris correspondent, covered DeGaulles election to the presidency from North Africa. LeSeuer spoke French like a native and years earlier had done brilliant radio play-by-play as Hitler marched through Belgium. Look, there is no market for depth and ballast and no one since LeSeuer has had depth or ballast: not Douglas Edwards, nor Murrow, Severeid, Cronkite and especially not Rather in the long history of CBS. So, welcome aboard Katie. To coin a phrase, youre going to have to tie half of your brain behind your back in order to match your predecessors intellects.
Now, your turn to tell Readers Comments what female looker you would hire for the CBS Evening News. Ive already picked Naomi Watts. Your choice?