Couric Likely To Leave CBS News Chair
Katie Couric who left here daytime job at the Today Show on NBC to anchor the nightly News on CBS, is likely leaving that gig for another one.
News anchor Katie Couric will likely choose to leave her "CBS Evening News" chair and make a jump to daytime television when her contract expires in June, according to people familiar with the situation.
The 54-year-old news anchor is veering towards launching a syndicated talk show sometime in 2012—and a number of different companies, including CBS Corp., are vying for it, the people said. No final decision has been reached.
With "Dr. Phil" and "Judge Judy" on its roster, CBS has a strong reputation in the syndication business—and a gaping hole to fill when Oprah Winfrey exits the talk show arena for cable. Ms. Couric is also weighing other options, including Comcast Corp.'s NBC—a smaller player in the talk show marketplace—and Time Warner Inc.'s Telepictures, which produces "Ellen" and has Anderson Cooper's new show in the fall.
Each of the companies under Ms. Couric's consideration has a news division where Ms. Couric could appear after leaving her anchor chair and before starting a syndicated show.
She intends to continue appearing on the air in some form before starting a syndicated show and could stay on after a syndicated show began, according to a person familiar with her thinking.
That person added that former NBC Chairman Jeff Zucker will "likely" play a role in the development of such a syndicated show, regardless of where it landed.
A decision about her future still lies at least two weeks away, according to the person familiar with her thinking.
As of Monday, Ms. Couric's spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said she hadn't made a choice regarding her television career. "Katie is considering various options but hasn't made a decision about her future," he said.
"We're having ongoing discussions with Katie Couric," a spokeswoman for CBS News added in a statement. "We have no announcements to make at this time. Until we do, we will continue to decline comment on rumor and speculation."
The Associated Press earlier reported that Ms. Couric was giving up the evening newscast helm.
Whenever the subject of her future has arisen recently, Ms. Couric has played coy. In an interview with the New York Times posted online Monday, she acknowledged that a syndicated talk show was a possibility and that she hoped it would be known for "smart conversation," but didn't divulge any further detail.
In mid-March, she appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman" and said she was in the process "of figuring out the future." But when Mr. Letterman asked her about leaving CBS, she demurred. "Once you take that anchor chair, that's what you do," Mr. Letterman said to her. "Really?" she answered. "Is that a CBS law?" To which Mr. Letterman said: "Look at Walter Cronkite, look at Tom Brokaw, look at Brian Williams, look at Peter Jennings, look at all these people. They get in it, they saddle up and they ride into the sunset." In response, Ms. Couric simply smiled and said: "Well, I love doing the evening news."
Ms. Couric made a splash when she left NBC's "Today" show in 2006 to helm CBS's nightly news program, drawing new viewers to the network. But after initial interest died down, viewers soon drifted away and the "CBS Evening News" reverted to its third place in the ratings, behind Brian Williams at NBC's "Nightly News" and Diane Sawyer at ABC's "World News." Since Ms. Couric took over in 2006, her audience has shrunk, finishing last season 15% smaller than her first season as anchor.
CBS News executives are currently weighing a variety of candidates who could take on the nightly anchor role if Ms. Couric departs. Among internal candidates, Harry Smith has been the main substitute for Ms. Couric since leaving CBS's "The Early Show." Scott Pelley, a "60 Minutes" correspondent, has also served as a substitute for Ms. Couric.
Flip Flop Flip Flop. Hmmmm when is she going to stay in one place???? What do you think?