As Couric Ends Reign at CBS, a Move to ABC Looks Likely

But her team wants Lauer in on the deal

Thursday night, Katie Couric delivered her last broadcast as the anchor of “CBS Evening News.”

“It’s been an extraordinary privilege to sit in this chair and a real honor to work with so many talented people here at CBS News,” Couric said, before running a retrospective of some of the most important stories Couric has covered—“Five years in five minutes”—ranging from the tragic (a screaming child caught the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake) and shocking (the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords) to the laughable (Couric’s legendary interview with Sarah Palin) and the very recent (the Royal Wedding and death of Bin Laden).

In one brilliant clip from the 2008 election, Couric asks then-presidential candidate Barack Obama who is the most impressive person he has ever met, to which he and several other Democratic hopefuls answer in chorus, “Nelson Mandela,” while a group of their Republican counterparts unanimously name their hero, Ronald Reagan. The finale, set to the Beatles’ “In My Life,” shows a few of Couric’s lighter—and most touching—moments as the broadcast’s anchor.

So what’s next for Couric? Rumors have been swirling for weeks that the anchor might head to ABC for an afternoon talk show after her contract with CBS expires June 6. According to insiders, the deal is now close to being finalized. The show, which would air in 2012, could cost $40 million to produce and would be financed mainly by ABC’s syndication arm. ABC is said to be betting on Couric to fill the void that will be left by Oprah's departure.

But Couric’s team has long wanted to reunite her with former “Today Show” co-anchor Matt Lauer, which has led to discussions within ABC of postponing the show until 2013 after Lauer’s NBC contract expires the previous year. ABC execs have been joking that they need to pair “Ginger”—the code name for a Couric project—with her “Fred.” Lauer, for his part, has dismissed rumors that he might be jumping ship to ABC, saying last week, “I have a long-term deal with NBC. I'm gonna be here for a while.”

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