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What is the history of CBS Evening News?

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Quick Answer

The "CBS Evening News" first aired as a half-hour broadcast on September 2, 1963 with Walter Cronkite as the anchor. It was the first 30-minute network news broadcast. Between 1948 and 1963, CBS aired a 15-minute program called the "CBS Television News."

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Full Answer

The "CBS Evening News" provided competition for the popular "Huntley-Brinkley Report" on NBC. The "Huntley-Brinkley Report" expanded its broadcast to 30 minutes one week after the debut of the "CBS Evening News."

In the 1970s the "CBS Evening News" became the most highly rated evening news program. Cronkite had developed a reputation as the "most trusted man in America" and was well-respected for his news coverage, particularly during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Cronkite retired in 1981, and Dan Rather replaced him. The ratings for the "CBS Evening News" declined during the 1980s, and in 1990 it was in third place among the network evening news shows. From 1993 to 1995 Connie Chung served as co-anchor of the program, but following her departure Rather became the sole anchor of the show once more.

Rather was forced to retire in 2005 following a story that was skeptical of President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard service. The story was based on documents that were forgeries. This incident damaged Rather's credibility.

Bob Schieffer, who had previously hosted "Face the Nation" on CBS, served as interim anchor and the show's ratings improved. Katie Couric became anchor from 2006-2011. Scott Pelley replaced her in 2011.

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