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The Reviews Are In …

… and there are plenty of places to see the good, the bad and the ugly takes on "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric." Of course TVNewser, who spent all of yesterday in countdown mode, has a fantastic roundup of TV critics from coast-to-coast. Romenesko gives some highlights, and his Poynter Institute provides an academic reaction.

There's plenty to absorb out there so just allow me to hit on some of the broad consensus: The set and new look was a hit, Katie Couric's debut was solid, if not as groundbreaking and new as some apparently anticipated and the show didn't turn traditional broadcasting completely on its head. The most often-filed complaint appears to be that the show was light on hard news. Tim Goodman, media critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, sums the feeling up this way:

While it's not clear what can be fairly gleaned from roughly 22 minutes on her first night -- whether she's a hit in the long run will be a combination of ratings points and critical consensus -- one thing was evident about the new "CBS Evening News": It was different.

Softer might be a better word for it. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

With a long feature by chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan, a lengthy interview (for broadcast news standards) with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, and fairly long pieces by correspondents Anthony Mason and Steve Hartman, the show did seem to lack the sort of news-of-the-day flow. But that's what Couric and company have been promising – less what happened and more what-it-all-means. It's also not entirely clear what big news was actually missing from the show. As for my take – I'd like to give it a few more shows before making any grand pronouncements, but I will say I could have done without the celebrity baby pictures. What did you think?
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