Katie Couric Quits "CBS Evening News" to Host Daytime Talk Show
Rumors have been swirling for weeks about what Katie Couric will do when her CBS contract expires this summer. Now, The Associated Press reports that she is heading to fill the Oprah-sized hole in the daytime talk show lineup.
According to The AP, Couric will step down from her role as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” after almost five years in the job. The AP says a network executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Couric has not officially announced her plans, reported the move Sunday night.
No departure date has been set, but Couric”s contract expires June 4. She is now expected to launch a syndicated talk show in 2012, and several companies — including CBS — are reportedly vying for her services.
The New York Post reports that CBS offered Couric a new package including both a daytime talk show and a prestigious regular slot on Sunday night news magazine, “60 Minutes.” Although Couric”s current contract stipulates that she contribute to “60 Minutes” at least six times a year, she still hasn”t received any assignments from the producers.
Until recently, Couric was expected to stay on as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” through the 2012 presidential elections. According to the Post, however, the appointment in February of “60 Minutes” chief Jeff Fager as CBS News chairman effectively ended any plans Couric had of extending her stay as nightly anchor.
Couric became the first woman to helm a nightly news broadcast when she took over from Dan Rather in 2006. Her move from NBC”s “Today” show made headlines, but after a strong start, using a new format, ratings began to fall, and the broadcast quickly reverted to a more traditional style.
The “CBS Evening News” settled into third place in the ratings and remains well behind Brian Williams at NBC”s “Nightly News” and Diane Sawyer at ABC”s “World News.” Insiders say that Couric”s $15 million salary has become increasingly hard to justify for a third-place broadcast.
Rome Hartman, Couric”s first executive producer at the “CBS Evening News,” told The AP that, while Couric”s tenure clearly didn”t work out as well as CBS hoped, “I don”t think it”s right to think of it as, or call it, a failure. … There are people who love Katie and those who don”t love her and that was a factor,” he said. “But it was the overall dynamics. There was a rock that we couldn”t move and I don”t think it would have mattered who we would have put in there.”
No replacement for Couric has yet been announced, but names linked with the role include Harry Smith, Scott Pelley and Russ Mitchell. Jeff Fager is also said to be looking for candidates outside of CBS. If Couric signs a talk show syndication deal with CBS it”s possible that she could continue as evening news anchor on a temporary basis past June, if she were to agree to stay on during an extended search for her successor.
See more at TV Squad.
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