Capping off months of speculation about Katie Couric’s future, an anonymous CBS executive has reportedly told the AP that Couric will leave her job as anchor of the CBS Evening News.
This comes less than five years after Couric became the first woman to anchor an evening news show on network television. CBS Evening News is currently third in the ratings, well behind NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams and ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer.
On Sunday, CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair said, “We're 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.” Couric’s spokesman seconded the statement.
According to the AP, Couric is expected to launch a syndicated talk show next year, and several companies—including NBC and Telepictures—could be competing to sign her to a new contract.
Despite Couric’s having garnered numerous awards for her reporting at CBS, the AP reports that the network feels her reported $15 million a year salary became increasingly hard to justify for a third-place telecast. Still, Rome Hartman, Couric's first executive producer for the show, said of Couric’s tenure, "I don't think it's right to think of it as, or call it, a failure."
As it looks to replace Couric, CBS is expected to consider internal candidates, including Russ Mitchell, Scott Pelley, and Harry Smith, as well as looking at talent from elsewhere.
Couric’s CBS News contract is set to expire on June 4.