It used to be that the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” was the face of the broadcast network. After Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, that is no longer true. The current anchor, Scott Pelley, had his office cleaned out while away on assignment. He will decamp to “60 Minutes.”
CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) shares were not moved by the news, nor will they be. Shares of the network TV company have risen 12% in the past year to $61.52. Long-time CEO Les Moonves, one of the highest paid chief executives in the United States, has kept the traditional media company in good shape during a period when many old-line media companies have succumbed to digital upstarts. CBS has plenty of this sort of competition, from YouTube to Vice.
CBS’s success shows that content has remained the most relevant factor in long-time media success. CBS Sports continues to be a juggernaut. CBS was the most watched network last year, according to Nielsen. It has held that spot for 14 of the past 15 years, according to Deadline Hollywood. “The Big Bang Theory” has been a remarkable success as it leads all prime time ratings. The NCIS franchise has become one of the most successful sets of prime time programming in history. CBS’s “Survivor,” the grandfather of its genre, still pulls better that its rivals.
Moonves has set up CBS so that what happens to the Evening News does not matter anymore.