Feature

Is Couric leaving CBS?

What happened
Katie Couric denied reports that she would leave her job as anchor of the CBS Evening News long before her contract expires in 2011. (CNNThe Wall Street Journal reported that Couric, who has struggled with low ratings since her 2006 debut, might leave after the next president is inaugurated in January. (Broadcasting & Cable)

What the commentators said
“Let the parlor game . . . resume,” said Chris Ariens in TVNewser on Mediabistro.com. The bets on who will replace Couric should pick up where the debate over the successor to Dan Rather left off. Could Bob Schieffer, the CBS veteran who filled the gap between Rather’s departure and Couric’s debut, get the job full-time? Or maybe it will be Harry Smith or Russ Mitchell, as both have done a good job substituting for Couric. Or maybe now’s the time to “blow up the venerable broadcast once and for all.”

Could low ratings really sink such a huge star? said Peter Cohan in Bloggingstocks. Looks like it. “Despite the media blitz surrounding her 2006 move from NBC’s Today show, Couric did little to help the ratings, as CBS Evening News has struggled to find ratings ground behind NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and ABC World News with Charles Gibson.” And, you have to admit, her newscast does seem “drained of life—it is as if she is being forced to play a role that she finds excruciatingly difficult to perform.”

There’s little reason to doubt that CBS would be “all too happy” to dump Couric’s $15 million annual salary from the budget, said Jeff Bercovici in Portfolio.com. If the story is true (and the Journal story looks solid), the question is “where might Couric land?” The Journal suggests CNN is the most likely place, and the 74-year-old Larry King’s contract does expire next year.

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