How terrific was Jeff Glor at his job? He even had me watching the CBS Evening News.
Despite that unlikely feat, the 43-year-old Buffalo native will soon exit the coveted role he’s held for a year-and-a-half as CBS shuffles a news division mired in third place among the Big Three Broadcasters.
Monday’s announcement that Glor was on his way out at The CBS Evening News led to headlines focusing more on Gayle King, who emerges as the centrepiece on CBS This Morning. These are basically aftershocks a year after disgraced veteran TV interviewer Charlie Rose’s #TimesUp reckoning.
The sad part of Rose’s ignominious exit is that the morning show numbers have gone down since his departure. Did people really get up that early to see Rose harumph through some wee hours banter between all those pharmaceutical commercials?
That was the wonder of Glor, to me at least. These evening newscasts have been a depressing chore for years and not just because the news has been so filled with despair and madness. Almost every single commercial break is crammed with ads for a drug that will keep people alive if it doesn’t kill them first. They are the real Fake News on television these days: images of mainly white seniors ignoring cancer or cirrhosis by romping in parks or along beaches with gleeful grandchildren and waving to friendly neighbours in clean, small town settings on endlessly sunny streets. Take out the chilling warnings that “Zutalor” might cause blindness, explosive diarrhea, strokes or hair loss and you have mini movies too Pollyanna for the Hallmark channel.
Glor, to me, was the antidote to all that pharmaceutical blarney. It was refreshing to see somebody in that role who was not weighed down with gravitas. Glor has authority and legitimate news chops but also has genuine vitality. He is the healthy husband and father of two all those medical companies were trying to cast in their stave-off-death commercials.
Has he been sidelined because he isn’t the typical “Voice of God” anchorman? That model went out with Rather, Jennings and Brokaw. Maybe CBS felt they needed a woman or someone more representative of a changing America. We’ll see if that makes a difference.The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell will launch May 20.
For me, Glor’s appeal went beyond his ability to deftly quarterback each briskly-paced newscast. He also seemed to feel each story without betraying any political allegiance (although, some Trump supporters may disagree with me).
When it came down to the last segment, where Steve Hartman would file a story from “On the Road,” Glor could be counted on to feel it just like a viewer. When Hartman would bring him news of a 97-year-old bag boy at the local stop ‘n’ shop, Glor would cap it with an “Amazing!” and mean it. Or when Hartman took him to Newton, Mass., where an entire town learned sign language in order to communicate with a two-year-old deaf girl, Glor’s eyes glistened. He always seemed to have just seen the segment for the first time along with the audience.
Maybe thar reaction was too Jack Paar and not enough Walter Cronkite for typical CBS News viewers. Maybe that aging audience just saw him as too much of a whippersnapper. I loved the energy he brought to an American supper hour newscast and am sorry to see him go.
Savour Glor for a few more nights. He was at his post Monday even though the news had already been released about his departure. He’s scheduled to soldier on through May 17. The CBS release suggests the network is hoping to retain him in a new role, but as what — replacing Jeff Probst on Survivor? Surely some other U.S. news network will recognize that he was already pretty damn great at the job he just lost.