Despite a multi-million-dollar contract which runs through 2011, the Katie Couric era could be over at CBS as soon as next January, reports Rebecca Dana for The Wall Street Journal:
After two years of record-low ratings, both CBS News executives and people close to Katie Couric say that the “CBS Evening News” anchor is likely to leave the network well before her contract expires in 2011 — possibly soon after the presidential inauguration early next year.
Ms. Couric isn’t even halfway through her five-year contract with CBS, which began in June 2006 and pays an annual salary of around $15 million. But CBS executives are under pressure to cut costs and improve ratings for the broadcast, which trails rival newscasts on ABC and NBC by wide margins.
Her departure would cap a difficult episode for CBS, which brought Ms. Couric to the network with considerable fanfare in a bid to catapult “Evening News” back into first place. Excluding several weeks of her tenure, Ms. Couric never bested the ratings of interim anchor Bob Schieffer, who was named to host the broadcast temporarily after “Evening News” anchor Dan Rather left the newscast in the wake of a discredited report on George W. Bush’s National Guard service.
Read the rest at the link above. Combined with plunging stock prices, low ratings across the board for all its programming, and reports of their negotiating with CNN to provide a news feed, it’s beginning to look like CBS’ vaunted news division may not survive the loss of credibility suffered through Rather and Mapes’ fake “reporting.” Even Cutie Pie Katie can’t bring the viewers back (duh? This ain’t The View, Toots).