As I indicated in a recent article, the B-team, or even the C-team, is now heading up the national evening news in America. These anchors’ faces and voices (Muir, Glor, and Holt) are not even faint reminders of the so-called Golden Age, when father figures like Cronkite and Reasoner fed official truth into the brains of viewers. The new C-team is vague gloss from a paint job on a used car. This is an ominous sign for the news bosses in the upstairs suites. They can’t find adequate hypnotists anymore.
Many things—among them, the father figures left the fold. They decided to sell real estate or take corporate work in PR. They saw the handwriting on the wall: the networks were fostering a youth movement, seeking younger and prettier talent. Why? Because Madison Avenue was convinced the younger viewer demographic was the important one, in terms of consumer buying power. Therefore, on-air news faces had to be younger as well. This sounded right, but it overlooked one vital fact. The young news anchors couldn’t pull off the appropriate level of mind control. They were merely bland robots. Friendly, nice, literate to the point of being able read copy. (Lester Holt at NBC is a bit older, but he comes across as a corpse someone dug up at a cemetery for a role in a Frankenstein remake.)
There is another gross miscalculation. The commercials, between news segments, are overwhelmingly pharmaceutical. Those drugs aren’t intended for the youth demographic. They’re for the middle-aged and the seniors, who want to toxify themselves for the rest of their lives.
So the commercials are playing to the older crowd, while the faces of the news are supposedly attracting younger viewers. It’s a mess. The news execs and programmers really have no idea what they’re doing.
They’re basically hoping their game somehow lasts until they can retire.