A CBS network executive told the Associated Press that Katie Couric will leave her job as anchor of CBS Evening News when her contract expires on June 4th. Though Couric has not confirmed the move, the executive suggested she expects to lead a syndicated talk show in 2012 and multiple companies are looking to lock her down. Her first few weeks as anchor were strong and widely viewed, and this is attributed to her interview skills and her ability to get people to watch the news who previously hadn’t. Over time, however, her appeal seemed to dwindle as her broadcasts became less interesting, and the spunk that made her grind with the concrete on the Hudson Hotel when she first received the job in 2006 was leashed.
Couric’s ratings never were proportionate to her $15 million salary, and she continuously trailed behind Brian Williams on NBC and Diane Sawyer on ABC in viewers. But despite her numbers, highlights in Couric’s career at CBS include winning the Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast in 2008 and 2009, and the infamous interview where she asked Sarah Palin where she got her information from and what newspapers she read on a daily basis. On its future programming, CBS spokeswoman Sonya McNair said, “We are having ongoing discussions with Katie Couric. We have no announcements to make at this time. Until we do, we will continue to decline comment on rumor or speculation.” However, Rome Hartman (who was Couric’s first executive producer at CBS) admitted that despite the way Couric’s role at the network wasn’t as successful as it was intended to be, said “I don’t think it’s right to think of it as, or call it, a failure.”
While Couric still has two months left on her contract, CBS has already begun discussing who will serve as her replacement. The network is reportedly considering Russ Mitchell, Scott Pelley, and Harry Smith, all of which are already members of the CBS brand. At the same time, CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager is also considering roping someone in from the outside. Once she is relieved of her services, Couric is believed to establish her own talk show with either CBS, NBC, or Telepictures. NBC is the least likely choice, as the failure in launching Jane Pauley’s talk show would mean Katie’s chance for success there is questionable. Telepictures is looking like the best choice for her, as it produces Ellen and is responsible for the new Anderson Cooper show that will be launching in the fall.