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Relationship between CBS and Couric ending with a whimper, not a bang

Katie Couric was chided by David Letterman this week for thinking of leaving her job as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

"It's not like it's a temp gig," Letterman told Couric, reminding her that other anchors "ride into the sunset."

COURIC For Couric, the sun apparently sets around 2 p.m. Don't blame her, though. That anchor seat has lost a lot of value since it was occupied by Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather. In fact, a case could be made that Couric traded down when she left NBC's "Today" for CBS.

Now she wants to try daytime. What's interesting is that CBS does not appear to be making a big push to keep her in the anchor chair. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who was instrumental in wooing Couric away from NBC to CBS, is sitting back and letting the new leadership at CBS News -- Chairman Jeff Fager and President David Rhodes, call the shots, according to people familiar with the situation.

Moonves may not want to be seen publicly pursuing someone who clearly has their mind made up. Perhaps singing "Happy Birthday" to Couric for a video the network made for her in January was as far as he was willing to go.

That Couric is consulting with her former "Today" producer (and ex-NBC Universal CEO) Jeff Zucker probably hasn't helped her relationship with her current bosses at CBS. It will be interesting to see if CBS seriously considers going after a Couric talk show or passes.

PELLEY Inside CBS, attention is starting to focus on Scott Pelley as the leading candidate for Couric's job should she bolt, which seems to be a foregone conclusion.

Pelley, a "60 Minutes" correspondent, is close to Fager, who besides being chairman of CBS News continues to executive produce the newsmagazine.

Pelley has been with CBS for more than 21 years. If he is given the job, odds are the network won't have to worry about him eyeing his next big deal or wondering what else is on the horizon.

If Couric does leave, her stint at CBS will be one of the shortest for an evening news anchor. Cronkite did it for almost 20 years and Rather for more than two decades. ABC's Peter Jennings and NBC's Tom Brokaw also put in over 20 years anchoring. While ABC weathered some instability with the anchor slot after Jennings died, Diane Sawyer seems willing to take Letterman's advice and ride into the sunset. NBC's Brian Williams also seems entirely comfortable in his job.

There will be lots of analysis about Couric's run at CBS News. She did not boost ratings the way CBS would have liked. Her persona, perfect for the morning, ultimately did not work as well in the evenings. The media seemed more obsessed than viewers about her role as CBS News anchor. In daytime, she will be back in her comfort zone.

-- Joe Flint


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Photos: Top right: Katie Couric. Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images. Bottom left: Scott Pelley. Credit: John Filo/CBS.

Comments () | Archives (218)

CBS has had only two anchors I felt like watching on the CBS Evening News. I felt I was I getting the news and not over editorialized or sensationalized yellow journalism. Walter Cronkite and Bob Schieffer. I wish all the news programs had men of their caliber on their news programs. Unfortunately, they do not, but, fortunately there is a lot of online newspapers from around the country.

Letterman, can anyone take him seriously? If Katie were offered to come back to CBS, she would in all probability have to take cut in that gigantic salary of hers. I would not envision Dave taking a cut at CBS if his contract came up, he would probably go to FOX.
Its all about ratings and she is not getting them enough to justify 15 Mil per year so shut up Dave the experiment at CBS did not work.

Scott Pelley? He'll be a big draw. This is not the 1970s anymore. Why all three networks think they all have to program the same show at 6:30 EST, Monday through Friday is beyond me. CBS should turn that half hour over to the affiliates and save some money. They are just throwing good money after bad thinking people will come back to CBS for the evening news.

Diane Sawyer seems willing to take Letterman's advice and ride into the sunset.

Sawyer rode into the "Sunset" years ago.

I agree with Walter's comment, Network News is a waste of money.

Bring back Dan Rather. He was the only newsman to speak the truth about Duhbya being AWOL when he was at the Texas Air National Guard.

Hey kids, the era of big broadcast network news is over. I'm sure Katie hastened the demise of it with her evening audience ratings share usually in the toilet range. TV broadcast news today is not relevant anymore. Who watches these liberal blowhards spin the news? I used to watch Dan Rather and his left wing minions at CBS slant hard facts to his liberal leanings -- it was appalling. If you want fast information, the internet is the way to go. Buh bye, Katie, don't let the door hit your butt on the way out.

This is what happen's when you send a girl to do a man's job.

I just wish that Katie would quit telling us to go get a colonostopy or a MAMMOGRAM. We just want to hear the news not get bad medical advice. Sheesh how dehumanizing.

I wrote Moonves with this sage advice: keep Schieffer. Veteran newsman, ratings were up. Of course, Moonves is richer and smarter than I am. So he hired Katie. Real smarty, that Moonves. Shoulda' kept Schieffer.

she's terrible, glad to see her go!

I for one, never found Katie Couric engaging or "news worthy".
Anchors have to earn your trust, your allegiance and Couric did neither. I alway felt she was a glorified "Reporter" - built up by first NBC then CBS. In actuality she's not much more than the talking heads on Headline News or CNN Weekend - and not nearly cute enough to look at.
CBS swung and missed with this pick because they got all caught up in the hype.
See ya Katie - an HBO Series Special is calling...

Katie Couric exposed Sarah Palin for the fraud that she is, for that this nation should be forever grateful!

I'll tell ya what they need to do if Katie bolts, CBS oughta go after sexy Paula Zahn..and put HER in the nightly news chair. I'd be sure to watch then. :>)

Who cares? She is nothing more than a talking head. Lets face it, any bozo who can read a teleprompter can be a news anchor.

Wouldn't this story have been better if you'd mentioned how long Cronkite, Rather and Couric were in the job?

There is something for Katie but CBS was not it. I think that Katie can host her own talk show, she is classy, and I think if she had the right writers she could come on at 4 pm on in Oprah's time slot and channel and she will do fine.

Not in her "comfort zone"? How about the fact that she just sucked at it! CBS Evening News lost 3MM viewers since her appointment. She is not, and never will be, a journalist.

John Roberts should have had this gig long ago. Swallow crow CBS and do yourself a favor....bring him back if you can. It's not too late.

Ratings WERE up when Schieffer and Roberts filled in. Katie belongs back in a mid morning daytime show. She's a lightweight. Let her stand behind a desk with Martha Stewart helping make heart shaped cookies for Valentine's Day. World class newscaster? No way.
She was a decent local reporter when she was Katherine Couric in South Florida. But this network anchor is waaay over her head. Pelley would be good at this point.
For those who think network news is an anachronism, let me remind you there are about 24 million Americans who watch network news every night.

Katie was not a journalist. She is simply a news reader. No loss to CBS. Then again corporate media stopped being relevant 15 years ago. Both in news print and on any other outlets. The so called free, objective, investigative press does not exist. The only real reporting is now done by some independent journalist like Risen and others.

Like journalism in America, Katie is irrelevant.

Couric's tenure at news anchor was a mistake from the start.

This perky, funny, intelligent and off-beat woman was forced to repress her personality and mold it into a square, bland, geriatric format. From the day she stepped into the anchor chair, she possessed none of the gravitas of her predecessors.

News is entertainment and this actor was miscast as the star of the CBS Evening News.

Look how self-important the media has become. Why does any of this remotely matter? They could have a sock puppet anchor any one of their state propaganda shows, and it would not make any bit of difference. The media has been high on itself ever since Watergate and electing President Obama, and the public is sickened by its narcissistic love affair. How about they ditch this format and while they're at it, fire off all of their "journalists" and hire people with actual objectivity?

So out of her league, this perky chipmunk.

Three obvious wars going on, the radiation at the Japanese nuke plants is increasing, the price of food is going through the roof, the housing market is crashing, the dollar is disappearing as the world reserve currency and we have to hear about this degenerate and her government controlled fake news saloon?

Los Angeles Times seize the moment and start telling us some reality and watch your readership trend up big time.

------ http://911esentials.com

Scott Pelley AKA Thurston Howell the third. Mr chin to the wind, arrogant the perfect fit to drive ratings even lower. Wait can CBS News get any lower? I was wondering where Global Warming had disappeared to. Now we will get nightly reports. Tonight we are at level red. We are all going to die! I'm Scott Pelley and this is CBS Snooze!

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