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Brian Williams Rises, CNN Reaches

Posted by Kara Miller, Culture Club  September 21, 2011 11:38 AM

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The New Newsmagazine:

While Brian Williams' new prime-time news show, "Rock Center," waits for its moment in the sun - scheduling, apparently, depends on which NBC drama fails first - the buzz around the program grows. At the moment, the broadcast looks to be a "60 Minutes"-style newsmagazine - which isn't such a bad thing when you look at last season's "60 Minutes" ratings.

And, like its CBS predecessor, "Rock Center" is attracting some high-profile talent: Harry Smith (lured away from CBS), Kate Snow (poached from ABC), and now, apparently, Ted Koppel (whose career at ABC started in the 1960s).

News junkies await Rock's debut.


CNN's Misstep:

Meanwhile, CNN's choice of contributors continues to baffle. Witness the latest addition to their line-up: Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush's former spokesman, who joins the cable channel as a political talking head. Fleischer's opinions are largely predictable, and, more importantly, he brings no objective depth.

CNN has made these sorts of inexplicable choices before - RedState.com's Erik Erikson and radio host Dana Loesch, for example. Fortunately, though, CNN continues to rely on David Gergen and Gloria Borger, both of whom offer thoughtful, informed, and unpredictable analysis.

If CNN wants to break out of third place in prime time, it'll need more Gergens and fewer Fleischers.

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About the author

Kara Miller is an Assistant Professor of English, specializing in journalism, at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She also serves as a guest panelist on WGBH-TV's “Beat the Press” and contributes to 89.7 FM WGBH (NPR). More »

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