I decided to check out the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric as anchor today. Interesting. I was pleased to not see 5 minutes spent on the Crocodile Hunter, in fact, he only got a brief mention. And I was really suprised to see a really long and great piece by Lara Logan on Afghanistan as the lead. It was harder news than you could find on any cable news network. Strangely, after the first commercial break, the newscast did an about face and the rest was all non-news fluff features.
In all fairness, I don't think its fair to judge any newscast too harshly too soon - the performance and content changes daily and personalities gel over time. Things like the set and graphics have been in production for weeks and would take weeks to change in any major way - so those are fair game.
I have to say I was dissapointed. From '91-96, CBS had one of the boldest and perhaps even revolutionary graphic looks for a newscast (designed by GRFX Novocom). As seen in the first pic above, they used bold colors outside of the typical news blue; strong angles when most everyone was still doing a 3x4 rectangle over the shoulder; and what I personally thought was a brilliant use of halftone pattern as a newspaper reference. I think that package still holds up today for the most part.
I had hoped maybe CBS would make a bold veer from the typical overdone news graphics in an effort to make a statement that they aren't doing the same old newscast. Nope. Same old thing. Lotsa shiny stuff, overdone borders and layers and light effects. And really awful type. The primary font is bold one place, light in another; condensed here, extended there; 3D extrusions here, flat there; huge here, teeny there. And then out of nowhere comes some graphic with some other random typeface. All so overdone and overmucked that everything just seems muddy. To be fair, it could be a lot worse, I just really had my expectations up.
The set, by the way, is beautiful, particularly on wide and interview shots.
Here's an interesting site with the history of CBS's looks, as well as other stations and networks: