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Glenn Halbrooks

Katie Couric Leaving CBS Evening News

By April 27, 2011

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It's the news story that surprises no one -- Katie Couric will be leaving the anchor desk at the CBS Evening News at an unspecified time in the coming weeks. What may actually be a surprise is that she broke the news to People magazine, rather than a traditional hard news outlet or even on her own airwaves.

A photo of CBS News anchor Katie Couric
Katie Couric is leaving the CBS Evening News anchor chair.
Photo © Getty Images
But then again, critics always said Couric was more of a People-type celebrity than a Washington Post-type journalist. Couric likely doesn't care about that as she cashes her final paychecks from her $15 million a year CBS contract.

Now comes the guessing game as to where she may land next. After working at NBC and CBS, some observers have given several compelling reasons why she may get a talk show on ABC. Although she's leaving the anchor chair, she could continue with a talk show at CBS, especially since the official announcement of her departure said nothing about her leaving the network, just the newscast.

Even before this announcement, media pros were weighing in on whether Couric's five years as the face of CBS News were worth the money. Even though the newscast remains in distant third place, she was able to move the news division away from the controversy surrounding former anchor Dan Rather.

Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes remains the frontrunner to become the next CBS Evening News anchor. His background blends in more readily with the CBS News reputation for delivering hard news. It's unlikely that he'll follow Couric's dancing appearance on the Fox hit Glee.

It's also unlikely that his salary will be anywhere close to Couric's. It will be interesting to see if the network and TV critics will expect him to generate a huge shift in the broadcast's ratings when he goes up against NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Diane Sawyer.

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