a post-script on the cronkite voiceover change


In addition to the discussion on this blog, I have found discussions on VO-BB and Voiceover Universe about the change from Walter Cronkite to Morgan Freeman as the announcer for The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

I was and am not in favor of the change.

As I noted in one of the discussion threads, not a lot of exciting stuff happens in our industry so when something like this comes around, it’s a 7 on the Voiceover Richter Scale…and yeah it’s a little bit pathetic. “More doing and less talk about doing,” you might say and you’d be right.

But one email note on the Voiceover Universe discussion kind of disturbed me and it came from the site’s creator/owner, the fine voice talent Zurek.

His message about the debate there (where I ahem, “shared” my view) was brief: “I never thought one man’s success would (be) a topic for debate.”

That “one man” would be Morgan Freeman and the quote concerns me because of my active participation in this debate.

Let me again say as I thought I have specifically said many times – the focus of my comments are why it is valuable to keep Walter Cronkite’s voice associated with the network’s flagship news program. I really couldn’t care who got the job under the current circumstances which I felt/feel does not merit any change at all.

If CBS’ decision on the announcer is “cast-in-stone-final” and Morgan Freeman is their choice, OK. I have no other horse in this announcing race (which obviously wasn’t much of a race – a compliment by CBS News’ execs to Freeman’s recognized acting abilities). If anyone felt that my comments were a negative reflection on choice of Freeman – that was not my intent and I apologize if I was not clear enough on that point.

It’s whether there is a true need for change in this circumstance that I believe makes the opportunity for debate relevant to the voice over community (and probably very few other people 🙂 ). And if you have a blog post, no matter the topic, one better expect, nay, hope for a debate. It’s what makes a blog post a true blog post.

2 Responses to “a post-script on the cronkite voiceover change”

  1. I appreciate and understand your clarification. I, for one, never took you initial blog as hating on or begrudging Morgan Freeman’s success.
    Now I want to make myself clear. I commented on your blog
    ” Morgan Freeman is an excellent narrator… announcer? not so much. ” I would like to elaborate on what I initially wrote.
    I feel that based on Morgan’s performance that he is being miss used. Announcers by definition aren’t really supposed to act or render an opinion by way of what they say and how they say it. Fine. I get that. BUT, if you are going to hire Morgan Freeman to ‘announce’ your program, wouldn’t you want him to read in a way that allows his naturally wonderful and rich character to shine through? Essentially, have him read it HIS way. Otherwise, what’s the point? You can just either leave the Kronkite reads, or hire someone who is purely a voice.
    Based on Morgan’s performance, it sounds like he was directed to only announce and NOTHING else. stiff. flat. no life. no character. No Morgan. I love Morgan Freeman’s work; voice and on camera.
    But again I ask, WHATZ the POINT?

  2. Thanks Dan for your comments and from a performance stand point I agree…it didn’t sound like a Morgan Freeman read would.

    But as I pointed out in a VO BB thread – its less about how Morgan sounds and more about how Morgan was directed. Somebody thought that read was OK. That’s the person I’d like to hear from.

    Best always,
    – Peter