Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Americans Rate Television News and Talk Personalities

ABC's Diane Sawyer tops the list (click on the link to see these fascinating stats): "The assumption that on-air personalities are valuable components of television news and talk programming is beyond dispute. The latest validation of this old principle comes from CBS News' signing of former NBC Today show anchor Katie Couric to be the new anchor of the CBS Evening News, at an estimated contract value of at least $39 million over the next three years.

"Despite these types of astronomical salary figures, it is sometimes difficult to disentangle the impact of a single personality on a show's ratings. Some news and talk programming such as the morning news shows rely on an ensemble cast, and it can be the chemistry of the grouping that matters to viewers as much as the appeal of any one personality. Additionally, there is the impact of the environment in which a show is broadcast, including in particular the ratings of the programs that lead into and out of the show.

"One broad gauge of a personality's value can be a simple measure of how much average Americans like or dislike the individual. This is not a perfect measure, given that Americans sometimes like to watch an individual on television whom they profess to dislike. Still, such a measure provides a crude gauge of the relative likeability of television personalities." -- Frank Newport and Joseph Carroll

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