The Huffington Post is reporting that Katie Couric and CBS have agreed to part company when her contract expires in June.
A network executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Couric has not officially announced her plans, reported the move to The Associated Press on Sunday night. The 54-year-old anchor is expected to launch a syndicated talk show in 2012 and several companies are vying for her services.
Speculation has swirled for weeks about Couric’s future with the network with the expectation that she would either be moved to a different slot within the network at a lower salary or leave altogether to explore a daytime talk show.
She apparently has chosen the latter.
While earlier speculation focused on “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley as a possible replacement for Couric, the latest reports now have former CBS Early Show host Harry Smith also being mentioned for the anchor slot.
At this time Pelley would seem to make more sense if CBS is going to choose from within the organization as he is part of a high profile team at one of CBS’s most successful programs.
The addition of Smith to the mix is puzzling since he was replaced on the Early Show because of its consistently low ratings.
With the Evening News in the cellar it doesn’t make a lot of sense to replace one low-rated anchor with another. But if this is about saving money, Smith would certainly come cheaper than Couric.
This could be a golden opportunity for CBS to revamp the evening news and give the public a more balanced view of the news. But based on the initial pool of replacements, that isn’t likely to happen and the program is destined to remain in the ratings cellar.