When I awoke this morning, the e-mail in my BlackBerry reported the response to last night's special version of the broadcast, with limited commercial interruption: "it's in the thousands -- too many to count -- all positive so far."
As a close friend and colleague said to me this morning, "Dick Salant (legendary former CBS News President) would be so proud." Dick became a good friend and mentor in the last years of his life -- that quote implies that Dick would have approved of what happened on the air last night. Thanks to a single underwriter, we were able to pack approximately 28 minutes of news into the 30 minutes the network gives us. Salant is a weighty name to toss around in our line of work, because of his steadfast protection of network news, so that was enormously gratifying to hear.
The experiment truly did ignite a viewer response -- many of the e-mails praising us, but a good number praising Philips Electronics, who paid the freight last night. I'm happy to announce we'll be doing it again very soon. While it in no way CHANGED the news we delivered or reported on last night, it increased the VOLUME by several stories and several correspondents. How nice to come to the office and encounter a pile of e-mails that do not begin with the traditional "How dare you..." -- which is, all too often, the salutation we've become used to. This experiment, to the contrary, ignited passions of a different and positive sort.
We literally stopped counting the positive emails at 4,000. How nice. We're thrilled.
Thanks to all those who watched, and all those who wrote. We're a bit concerned that a ton of folks are going to tune in tonight expecting the same... but soon.
We will review the testimony of SecDef nominee Robert Gates today -- some interesting questions and answers and what many found to be very candid testimony. We have a report on the war on terror tonight as well from Richard Engel.
Robert Bazell will report tonight on postpartum depression, and we'll update the not-so-little ship that could: the USS Intrepid today made it to its new home in New Jersey. As a New Jersey native, born and raised, allow me to welcome our substantial visitor, the great carrier that in Navy slang was referred to as "36,000 tons of diplomacy" -- a welcome addition to the waterfront for the brief time we have her.
We hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast.