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U.S. Big Three Anchors to Disappear

Posted May. 30, 2002 09:03,   


Triarchy of U.S. news networks is shaking after 20 years.

U.S. NBC announced on the 28th that Brian Williams (43) would succeed Tom Brokaw (62) for the anchor of `NBC Nightly News` from 2004.

CBS is likely to transfer Dan Rather (70), anchor of Evening News, ` to another news program, and Peter Jennings (63), anchor of `World News Tonight, ` is pressured to choose between curtail of salary and retirement.

Mr. Rather has hosted evening news program since 1981, and Mr. Brokaw and Mr. Jennings since 1983. Comparing the retirement of these three anchors to the `extinction of dinosaurs, ` latest New York Times Magazine reported, “the retirement of them signals a generational change among the television networks` news anchors. ”

The main cause of the shift in generation is dropping audience rating. Due to the appearance of Internet and cable newscasts like CNN and Fox News Channel, the audience rating of evening news program fell to 43 percent last year from 84 percent in 1981.

In addition, high salary of these 3 anchors is another reason these companies are reluctant to keep going with them. Their salary is around 8 to 10 million dollars, increased by 5 times from 20 years before.

People are pointing out their old age in 60s and 70s for the reason they cannot attract young audience. While they have good conveyance and analysis, as they hosted newscast over 20 years, they lack of aspiration and freshness.

Big three anchors have kept solid foundation with unique styles of them.

Mr. Rather, once a newsman accredited to the White House, has a most progressive thoughts, and had several troubles with executives. He didn’t report the death of Chandra Levy, who allegedly had an illegal relationship with Rep. Gary Condit as an intern, saying it only a gossip.

Mr. Brokaw, former newsman accredited to the White House, is the author of `the Greatest Generation. ` High school graduate Mr. Jennings had been a correspondent for 15 years including in South Africa. Walter Cronkite, a legend in U.S. news broadcasting circle, pointed, “traditional anchors, who have played three roles of news conveyer, information analyzer, and sentimental guide, disappearing, American are suffering from information shortage in the flood of information. ”

Mi-Kyung Jung mickey@donga.com