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Critic: ‘Is ABC News trying to corner the market on women-in-peril stories?’

The St. Petersburg TimesEric Deggans writes about ABC News’ hire of Elizabeth Smart to serve as an analyst for the network. Deggans asks whether the hiring of Smart is part of ABC’s strategy to “corner the market on women-in-peril stories.”

Deggans speaks to Andrew Tyndall, who argues that ABC is trying to build a loyal audience of female viewers, a demographic that does not typically tune in regularly to TV news:

In today’s landscape of morning newscasts and true-crime network TV newsmagazines, women-in-peril stories have turned crime news into melodramatic, real-life soap operas, Tyndall added.

“It’s converting the previous demographic for soap operas into news (viewers),” he said. “Almost always, the central character is a woman and just like the soap operas, it doesn’t matter if the lead character is a good guy or a villain. That’s why you can talk about Elizabeth Smart and Casey Anthony in the same breath.”

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