Marred by unfulfilled potential from the onset, Katie Couric’s much ballyhooed move from co-host of the Today show on NBC to host of the CBS Evening News has finally come to an end, as the anchor stakes a claim in the daytime talk show arena come 2012.
While an official announcement has yet to be issued, Couric’s contract expires on June 4thof this year, so that fact, coupled with the dismal third-place ratings of the CBS Evening News renders this news not entirely unexpected.
Five years ago, Katie Couric became the first woman to solely host a nightly newscast, and while she did so with a great amount of fanfare and media attention, viewers ultimately seemed unwilling to follow. It was believed by many at CBS that Couric would be the savior of the CBS Evening News, which has consistently ranked third behind first place NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight.
Unfortunately for Couric, she inherited a broadcast that was already in a ratings quagmire, and had been there for many years. From the beginning, Couric struggled to amass an audience capable of besting her rivals, garnering something like 6.4 million viewers a night in her first three months. A paltry sum compared to the 9.8 million nightly viewers for NBC and 8.7 million achieved by ABC. Couric’s run may now possess the dubious honor of having the smallest audience ever for the CBS Evening News.
Ironically, the last time CBS earned second place was briefly back in 2006, when newsman Bob Schieffer (considered a temporary replacement for the recently departed Dan Rather) was anchoring the news program.
So, where does this leave Couric? Well, now that Oprah has announced an end to her show, the keys to the daytime talk show kingdom are essentially up for grabs. Players like former American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell are shoe-ins for the throne, but according to reports, Couric is looking to throw her hat into the ring as well. After her time at CBS, the land of daytime syndication may very well be smart move for Couric.
While Couric is likely on to greener pastures, her successor will likely be left facing a very strenuous uphill climb – at least until he or she can prove capable of grabbing more ratings than snarky headlines.
Though no new anchor for has yet been chosen for the CBS Evening News, an internal candidate, one already familiar to CBS viewers, will likely win the position and the name being brought up most frequently is that of 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley. Ultimately, the decision will be left to CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, and will likely be announced shortly after the official word on Couric’s imminent departure.
Source: Entertainment Weekly