Katie Couric to CNN? Does Anyone Care?
Despite early rumors that she would be fired when she proved not to be worth $16 million a year, Katie Couric has hung on as anchor at CBS. But her contract’s up in May and CNN seems to be the highest bidder. If not the only bidder.
CNN appears especially eager to sign Couric now that the new show starring ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer is off to a stumbling start.
Jeff Bewkes, the CEO of CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, yesterday said that CNN has the money “to pay for some of the biggest talent in TV news” — just when CBS was saying that the era of the big-salary anchor is ending.
“The Katie Couric deal will be the last big deal of that kind ever done,” Les Moonves, the head of CBS, said this week. “Those days are over.” Couric makes a reported $16 million a year, tops among the three network news anchors — but her contract ends in May. “People are getting the news elsewhere,” Moonves said. “When there were only three networks, you did have that public service component, where we were informing America. Now, there is nothing that Katie Couric is saying that everybody doesn’t know already.
Moonves is almost certainly right. Indeed, I’ll be quite shocked if any of the Big 3 networks have a nightly newscast, much less a star anchor, a decade from now. They’re relics of a fading past, watched mostly by senior citizens who have been in the habit for decades.