Katie Couric Reportedly Leaving CBS Evening News

Five years after becoming the first woman to anchor a major network newscast, it appears that Katie Couric will be leaving the CBS Evening News:

After weeks of speculation in the press that “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric was mulling whether she wanted to make another career change – this time to become a become a syndicated talk-show host — the Associated Press pulled the trigger on the story late Sunday, reporting Couric had indeed decided to step down from her exalted position as the First Woman to Solo Anchor a Big Three Newscast, in order to make a run at becoming The New Oprah.

The report cited an unnamed source and a CBS News rep said their talks with Couric were ongoing and they weren’t about to comment on “rumor or speculation,” to which Couric’s rep added, “Ditto.”

Couric’s contract to anchor “CBS Evening News” is set to expire in June.

Couric, for many years the darling of NBC’s “Today” show, took over as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” on a Tuesday in early September of 2006, replacing Bob Schieffer, who had been anchoring for 16 months to buffer Couric from CBS’s controversial push-out of longtime anchor Dan Rather.

A whopping 14 million people watched her debut, to see what a news anchor who’s reportedly being paid $15 million a year salary, looks like and does.

Couric’s competition, NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Charles Gibson, were left eating her dust that night, with average audiences of 7.8 million and 7.6 million, respectively.

A jubilant CBS News, which had been mired in third place for ages, pointed out that this was 84 percent better than the newscast did the same night one year earlier when Rather was behind the anchor desk.

But, then-CBS News president Sean McManus issued an I’m-really-happy-but-this-is-a-marathon-not-a-sprint quote to put the numbers in perspective. And, truer words were never spoken: Couric’s newscast is these days in third place in the ratings, sitting snugly behind Williams at NBC’s “Nightly News” and ABC’s “World News” – now anchored by Diane Sawyer, the Second Woman to Solely Anchor a Big Three Evening Newscast.

There’s been talk of a CBS-Couric divorce before, of course, but this time it seems much more definite with Couric’s contract set to expire and CBS none to happy about the perennial third place finish. Of course, the other question is whether this wouldn’t be a good time to just end the nightly news broadcast entirely. With all the coverage of news on cable and the internet, it hardly seems necessary.

 

FILED UNDER: Media, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James V Feragola says:

    “Five years after becoming the first woman to anchor a major network newscast…”
    Mistakenly read that as, Five years after becoming the “Worst”. Either way it fits.

  2. Tano says:

    It still seems that the three of them are pulling in around 20 million viewers an evening. Sounds like a booming business to me – how many websites would it take to aggregate an audience like that?

  3. Tano,

    If they turned over that half hour to the affiliates to run a game show, they’d make more money.

  4. Oskar says:

    I might be wrong about this, but I’m not so sure that CBS can end the nightly news-cast, I think it’s part of their contract with the FCC that they have it.

  5. With CBS’ (so far pretty vague) relationship with Turner, seems like the sensible thing to do would be to make it “CNN on CBS” or something like that and move CBS News under the CNN umbrella.

  6. Teeno says:

    Bring back Dan Rather. Rather exposed Nixon, Bush became afraid and took Rather down in true Watergate style. Stop the dumbing down of the American news. Bring back Dan Rather.