Last updated: October 21, 2010 - 8:37am
CBS Corp. Chairman Leslie Moonves recently predicted a fast-changing newscast format because viewers now keep on top of the news through cable channels, the Internet and mobile technology. He said it's too expensive to support the newscasts as they are now.
"People are getting the news elsewhere," he said. "When there were only three networks, you did have that public service component, where we were informing America. Now, there is nothing that Katie Couric is saying that everybody doesn't know already." He said the programs could become like "Nightline," focusing on a couple of different stories, or the Sunday morning political talk shows. Viewership is flat or down at all three broadcasts this year compared to last -- 1 percent at the ratings leader, NBC's "Nightly News," 3 percent at "World News" and 6 percent at the "CBS Evening News." During one last week in August, the newscasts collectively had their smallest audiences on record. Shrinking audiences have been a fact of life at the news shows, and for broadcast television in general, as viewers have more entertainment choices. Cable news ratings are down from last year, too. Still, broadcast news divisions point out that more than 21 million people watch one of the three shows each night on average.
"The public is still expressing a need and a desire for a program like the one we're producing every night," said Bob Epstein, "Nightly News" executive producer. People may hear headlines during the day, but are still looking for a broadcast that sorts out the news, he said.
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