By Stephen Viscusi
Although I work on TV now myself, preparing for my own TV show "The Job's Whisperer" I started my career as a headhunter, then radio show host and author of two books. My latest book "Bulletproof Your Job" (HarperCollins) is now in 9 languages. I love stories of fired, hires and quitting. Can a dead man's voice be fired? Can it quit?
I was recently day dreaming about a imaginary (fictitious) phone call I got from Katie Couric, asking me for career advice, in light of all the negative press about ratings Katie and her show "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" have been receiving. I am not a Katie basher, I actually watch her, and find the"Katie" bashing ironic. Here is why.
ABC news, just replaced Charles Gibson, on the "ABC World News Tonight", with Diane. Sawyer. I don't hear any Sawyer bashing yet. Here is my pet peeve with that. Sawyer, is the peroxide blond former beauty pageant participant, like Sara Palin. Sawyer co-hosted "ABC's Good Morning America" with the androgynous Robin Roberts. Sawyer, had also worked for the Nixon White House before being a beauty queen contestant. Yeah, and I said Nixon. (Palin was not even old enough to vote for Nixon.) The Sawyer/Palin parallels are amazing, two former beauty queens, who then went to work in Republican politics.(I have to say in full disclosure I make a living from my book "Bulletproof Your Job" HarperCollins, published in 9 languages, HarperCollins is owned by NewsCorp., which also owns Fox... but my Editor of HarperCollins business once told me she hated Republican's. And, she was serious. So, clearly you can see I am trying to be objective here.
Am I the only one who wonders why Diane Sawyer is not a star at Fox News? She is a "bottle blond" like a lot of the Fox's, anchors, shares a resume like Sara Palin. Seems perfect right? So why does poor Katie get all the grief?
Now, back to my imaginary phone call from Katie and her career.
On Monday night, I turned on Katie on the CBS Evening News and I was shocked to hear, NOT Walter Cronkite's voice...who had been announcing Couric on the show, was changed. First, I did not know who it was, then I realized it was the guy who "drove Miss Daisy"...actor Morgan Freeman.
When Cronkite died, it was printed that CBS and Couric thought to change the voice of the announcement, out of respect, for Cronkite. However, Cronkite's family was quoted as saying "they would consider it an honor" if Katie kept the voice alive. Couric is the "Managing Editor" of the CBS Evening News, in addition to the anchor, that means she more or less has full control of the broadcast. So, who pulled the plug? The Cronkite family or Couric?
Did the Cronkite family no longer think it was "an honor", because of the "CBS Evening News's ratings being so low? Did they "quit" the show? Was it Couric's butch Suze Orman like haircut (which is not much better).
CBS issued a non clear statement, saying a new voice meant they had changed, as a policy decision, so that different voice announcements can be used when Katie was on location...and the Cronkite family said nothing.
I would say to Katie, Katie, here is my career call advice to you, ignore the rating's. CBS is a patient company. My God nepotism and sexism allegedly seems to reign at CBS. Leslie Moonves married an employee Julie Chen who co -host the "CBS Morning Show" and "Big Brother" David Letterman allegedly slept with several subordinates, and his ratings went up. Katie you are fine. You are the biggest star they have at News. But, Morgan Freeman? Selfishly, I started in radio, and I would have loved to have done the announcement and I would have done it for free. Although, Andy Rooney would have been my second choice, but I get the feeling he does not care much for Katie. How about Dave Price? Having Cronkite was a bit arrogant and the change is good, but don't sign on Freeman long term.
And, Katie, you are now competing with a blond Diane Sawyer. Yes, she worked at CBS, did the morning show there, and "60 Minutes", but relax you are doing fine. You are a Mom and a widow. You were never in a beauty pageant, and I think the American people need to get back in touch with the Katie we knew and loved at NBC. Lose the Suze Orman like hair, we have enough Lesbians on TV, and you are not one of them. Sawyer is an ice queen, and an alleged control freak, and almost old enough to be your Mother. You know when, they show what actors or people would look like when we age them? Well, Sawyer looks like a 60 something Barbie doll.
Bottom line, I would say at the end of my conversation with Katie --if I had a choice between having dinner with of one of you two female anchors, whom would I choose? The ice lady, beauty queen, who has a guarded demeanor, or the young widow, with two daughters, who did not choose to work for Richard Nixon, and was never in a beauty pageant? Brian William, nice guy, but he is a male Diane Sawyer - look but don't touch."
Katie...Stay the course!
May be reproduced without permission of author, as long as author gets credit Stephen Viscusi is the host of the upcoming TV show "The Headhunter From Hell".
Stephen Viscusi is the author of "Bulletproof Your Job" (HarperCollins) and can be reached at Stephen@viscusi.com. Visit his website @http://www.bulletproofyourjob.com, Follow me on Twitter @workplaceguru and add me on Facebook and LinkedIn.