Pelley debuts on CBS Evening News, without Weiner

pelley-debuts.jpgScott Pelley took the anchor chair on the CBS network's flagship news program tonight, and mostly nobody cared. The only suspense, really, was how would his show cover the Anthony Weiner sex scandal that broke earlier in the day in New York. NBC's Brian Williams led with it: "The age of oversharing has claimed another victim," he read. ABC had an exclusive interview with Meagan Broussard, the woman who leaked her online flirting with Weiner to Andrew Breitbart. And Pelley? Weiner was the third story that he delivered — "with more than a hint of distaste," the New York Times observed.

"Nancy, help us understand why Congressman Weiner matters,” Mr. Pelley said in a prim tone that suggested he didn’t really think Mr. Weiner does.

Mr. Pelley, a former “60 Minutes” correspondent, signaled to viewers that he is a no-nonsense newsman, but it was harder to glean what else he intends to offer. CBS has been promising viewers that he will bring “60 Minutes” values to the evening news, using ads with his picture and an image of a stopwatch and the words: “What if you can have the world-class original reporting of ‘60 Minutes’ every weeknight? Well, now you can.”

Actually, judging by Monday’s broadcast, you can’t. It’s a little like claiming that Stouffer’s frozen turkey pot pies make for a fine dining experience — there is plenty to be said for speed and convenience, but it’s not the same as a four-course meal at Le Bernardin, or a four-segment episode of “60 Minutes.”

The writer there is the irrepressible Alessandra Stanley. CBS dressed Pelley's new set with a map made to look like the one that hung behind Walter Cronkite when CBS dominated the news ratings. Here's a video on how they made the map.

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