Katie, Sarah, Robin, And Ann: The Rise Of The Female Morning Anchor
5:30 pm, April 2nd | by Laura Donovan
Many are dying to know how former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will fare in her “Today” guest spot tomorrow morning against ABC News host Katie Couric, in terms of ratings. But we’re more eager to see women dominate the a.m. television shows. That, rather than the unnecessary attempt to revisit their infamous awkward interview and continuously pit them against each other, should be celebrated. These women are becoming the game-changers of television news in the morning, and we’re thrilled to see networks fight and bid over these seasoned female reporters.
As we noted over the weekend, Palin’s Tuesday appearance on the “Today” show could be a wonderful opportunity to make use of her journalism background, and she’ll be competing against lots of other women at the center of morning shows. Couric will be on “Good Morning America,” (regular host Robin Roberts would be there, her usual energetic self, if she weren’t on vacation), Ann Curry’s obviously in the house, and all eyes will be on Palin. She may not have her name in a TV program, but let’s add “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski to the mix.
There’s more excitement to come for Couric, who will host her own syndicated daytime program, “Katie” this fall, but before that she was the first solo woman anchor of a nightly news show on one of the country’s three traditional broadcast networks. Roberts has been in the broadcasting business since the ’80s, when she started off as a sports reporter and worked her way up to “Good Morning America.” Curry is an experienced morning anchor as well, having hopped on board with “Today” in the late ’90s. It’s not easy delivering morning news of any kind, particularly if the nation is waiting to see whether you’ll butt heads with a woman you apparently dislike on a professional level (sorry, Palin, you know it’s true), so all of these women deserve a lot of praise for sacrificing normal hours to keep us posted and entertained at the beginning of each day.
Times have changed since anchors Tom Brokaw and Dave Garroway hosted the “Today” show, and we wouldn’t be surprised if George Stephanopoulos winds up taking another gig as more and more TV women continue starting our days right and landing a.m. appearances. The movie “Anchorman” may have been a fictional story about a megalomaniac male anchor in the mid-’70s, but its hiring of Veronica Corningstone as one of the first women to serve as onscreen talent is still telling of what it was like to work in TV news in that time. My mother, who went to ABC fresh out of college in the ’70s (sorry to date you, mom! Love you!), recalls the peculiarity of being among the few females in the newsroom. She eventually switched industries, but I’m glad things are different now and that long-time anchors such as Roberts and Couric paved the way for contemporary female morning anchors.
If you choose to tune in for Palin’s “Today” debut on Tuesday, set aside your desire to see her possibly beat or lose to Couric and focus on the beauty of women thriving in the morning show business. I wasn’t alive during a period in which men were the only ones behind TV sets before normal work hours, but know I would have missed out on a lot of the interesting perspectives of females that I’m free to watch today. The best part is, they’re not struggling to score these positions as aspiring female anchors may have done in the past. While bumps and cracks will surely present themselves, there’s a much smoother path ahead for TV reporter hopefuls of the future.