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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Change

I grew up on Walter Cronkite.  Everything came to a dead halt in the house at 6:30 PM weeknights, and it wasn't news until Uncle Walter said it was.  I can still remember the nightly US troop and Vietcong casualty counts during the Vietnam days.

I do remember switching to ABC when it tried the three anchor format in the late 70's.  Frank Reynolds handled the Washington stories.  Max Robinson had the domestic stories from Chicago, and Peter Jennings handled the international stories from London.  Critics hated the format.  I thought their view was myopic.  ABC News president Roone Arledge changed the story telling and production techniques at the time, and the critics didn't get that part of the equation.

Frank Reynolds got sick and died.  Max Robinson had some issues and he also passed away.  Peter Jennings became sole anchor, and I went back to CBS, where Dan Rather was now in the anchor chair.

My schedule changed, and the network evening news became after my bedtime.

Our focus is on ABC today.  After Peter Jennings died, the anchor chairs were occupied by Elizabeth Vargas, Bob Woodruff, Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer, and as of today, David Muir.

Sawyer and her team took the broadcast in a different direction:  more lifestyle.  It will be interesting to see if ABC continues down that road.  Efforts to reinvent the evening news have failed.  Katie Couric and CBS discovered that.  It's now more of a traditional broadcast, and a very good one at that.  David Muir seems to have the credentials, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the months to come.