Scott Pelley begins as `CBS Evening News' anchor
NEW YORK (AP) - June 6, 2011 (WPVI) -- It was Scott Pelley's first night as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" on Monday, but you'd hardly know it.
The veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent made no mention of the change. From Afghanistan to France, through wayward public officials and promising cancer treatments, he covered the news.
"I'm Scott Pelley," the Texan said at the broadcast's end. "For all of us at CBS News around the world, good night."
Pelley replaced Katie Couric as anchor of the third-rated nightly newscast, seen on average by about 6 million people a night, and his debut was as understated as hers was bold five years ago. Couric sought to remake the evening newscast with a format that emphasized her interviewing skills, but CBS went back to a more traditional approach when viewers rejected the reboot.
Pelley's version of the evening news may have jogged the memories of veteran CBS viewers. The network built a replica of the world map that used to hang behind Walter Cronkite when that news legend was anchor and debuted it Monday. CBS also dusted off background music composed for the "CBS Evening News" in 1987 but ditched when Couric took over.
CBS led the newscast with a report by correspondent Mandy Clark, on patrol with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Pelley then discussed the progress of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with correspondents Lara Logan and David Martin.
He waited until after the first commercial break to report on the admission by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner that he sent a racy photo to a woman. Meanwhile, on the ratings leader, NBC's "Nightly News," Brian Williams led the newscast with the Weiner story. Pelley and Williams may have a budding rivalry: Williams took notice when the New York Daily News reported last month that Pelley referred to "Nightly News" as "nothing special" in an internal call.
On ABC, "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer was in Afghanistan and led her newscast with two reports from that country.
During his program, Pelley brought correspondents on for brief discussions of their stories, offering gently leading questions.
"The five American soldiers that were killed in Baghdad today.
What happened there?" he asked Pentagon correspondent Martin.
"John, what's the future of this therapy?" he asked medical correspondent John LaPook after a report on a new treatment for lung cancer.
CBS has sought to bring some of the luster of "60 Minutes," TV's top-rated newscast, to the evening news. Newspaper ads for Pelley's first day pictured him with the iconic stopwatch in the background and the words: "What if you can have the world-class original reporting of `60 Minutes' every weeknight? Well, now you can."
Pelley will remain a "60 Minutes" correspondent, but there was no link between the shows Monday night. The newsmagazine is on its summer hiatus.
Left unmentioned on Pelley's first newscast: Monday's announcement that his predecessor, Couric, was signing on with ABC for a daytime talk show and work with that network's news division.
cbs, katie couric, entertainment
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