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Scott Pelley debuts as 'CBS Evening News' anchor

NEW YORK (AP) - It was Scott Pelley's first night as anchor of
the "CBS Evening News" on Monday, but you'd hardly know it.
The veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent made no mention of the
change. From Afghanistan to France, through wayward public
officials and promising cancer treatments, he covered the news.
"I'm Scott Pelley," the Texan said at the broadcast's end.
"For all of us at CBS News around the world, good night."
Pelley replaced Katie Couric as anchor of the third-rated
nightly newscast, seen on average by about 6 million people a
night, and his debut was as understated as hers was bold five years
ago. Couric sought to remake the evening newscast with a format
that emphasized her interviewing skills, but CBS went back to a
more traditional approach when viewers rejected the reboot.
Pelley's version of the evening news may have jogged the
memories of veteran CBS viewers. The network built a replica of the
world map that used to hang behind Walter Cronkite when that news
legend was anchor and debuted it Monday. CBS also dusted off
background music composed for the "CBS Evening News" in 1987 but
ditched when Couric took over.
CBS led the newscast with a report by correspondent Mandy Clark,
on patrol with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Pelley then discussed
the progress of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with
correspondents Lara Logan and David Martin.
He waited until after the first commercial break to report on
the admission by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner that he sent a racy photo
to a woman. Meanwhile, on the ratings leader, NBC's "Nightly
News," Brian Williams led the newscast with the Weiner story.
Pelley and Williams may have a budding rivalry: Williams took
notice when the New York Daily News reported last month that Pelley
referred to "Nightly News" as "nothing special" in an internal
call.
On ABC, "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer was in Afghanistan
and led her newscast with two reports from that country.
During his program, Pelley brought correspondents on for brief
discussions of their stories, offering gently leading questions.
"The five American soldiers that were killed in Baghdad today.
What happened there?" he asked Pentagon correspondent Martin.
"John, what's the future of this therapy?" he asked medical
correspondent John LaPook after a report on a new treatment for
lung cancer.
CBS has sought to bring some of the luster of "60 Minutes,"
TV's top-rated newscast, to the evening news. Newspaper ads for
Pelley's first day pictured him with the iconic stopwatch in the
background and the words: "What if you can have the world-class
original reporting of `60 Minutes' every weeknight? Well, now you
can."
Pelley will remain a "60 Minutes" correspondent, but there was
no link between the shows Monday night. The newsmagazine is on its
summer hiatus.
Left unmentioned on Pelley's first newscast: Monday's
announcement that his predecessor, Couric, was signing on with ABC
for a daytime talk show and work with that network's news division.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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