CBS Evening NewsThe CBS Evening News is the flagship nightly television news program of CBS.
It originally competed against the Camel News Caravan on NBC, and was anchored by Douglas Edwards. Edwards attracted more viewers during the mid-1950s, but lost ground when Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were teamed up by NBC on the Huntley-Brinkley Report.
Walter Cronkite gained the anchor chair in 1962 and on September 2, 1963, CBS Evening News became network television's first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, when the show was lengthened from 15 to 30 minutes. During most of the 1960s, the CBS Evening News lagged behind the Huntley-Brinkley Report in terms of viewership levels. The beginnings of corporate ossification at RCA, the parent company of NBC, set in and Cronkite helped guide the broadcast to ratings wins in the summers of 1968 and 1969. In 1970, upon Huntley's retirement, the CBS Evening News began a period of domination in terms of viewership unmatched in American television. In the process, Walter Cronkite became an American icon.
Dan Rather took over the program in 1981. Within months, the program skidded to third in the viewership race, behind ABC World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News. CBS poured resources into CBS Evening News and pushed the show back into first place in the viewership battle, but the damage to the organization has lasted ever since.
As of early 2003, the show trails its rivals at ABC and NBC. John Roberts and Scott Pelley are often mentioned as possible successors to Rather when he retires.