That the network's star talent would announce her departure in a magazine — and not on, say, the “CBS Evening News” — shows just how frayed their relationship had become
Wondering just how frayed Katie Couric's relationship with CBS News had become? You don't have to look much further than today's events to see the tatters.
That Couric, whose exit from behind the "CBS Evening News" anchor desk was rumored from the moment she pulled up the chair, would decide to make her first official statement on her exodus to People magazine — and not, say, on the "CBS Evening News" — is telling.
Also read: Katie Couric Announces 'Evening News' Exit
"I am looking at a format that will allow me to engage in more multi-dimensional storytelling," Couric told People, which might be read as a swipe at the rigid "Evening News" format.
A person familiar with the process said CBS was aware of Couric's plan to break the news through People.
"It was part of a coordinated effort with CBS for Katie to confirm that she's decided to move on and clear the way for them to announce her successor next week," the person said.
As far as how People pulled off the coup — and whether they had a deal with Couric, who is already off to London to cover the Royal Wedding, to keep quiet until magazine's issue was ready to hit newsstands — they aren't saying.
"The interview is appearing in our upcoming issue this week," a spokesperson for the magazine told TheWrap. "We often release news from our interviews online before the magazine hits stands. Aside from that, we don't comment on our editorial process."
It's worth noting that while the "CBS Evening News" had its worst quarter ever in terms of ratings — averaging 6.43 million viewers a night — it's still roughly double People magazine's paid circulation of 3.3 million.
But if Couric is, in fact, mulling a daytime talk-show, People's demographic isn't a bad place to announce it.
Meanwhile, CBS News, which has been strategically leaking its post-Couric strategy for weeks now, didn't exactly sound broken up about any of it. “There’s a lot to be proud of during Katie Couric’s time at the CBS Evening News. But we feel it is time for a change," the network said in a statement. "CBS News, like Katie herself, is looking forward to the next chapter."
Before Couric boarded her plane to London, she gave an interview to PBS, telling Tavis Smiley, "While it was such a privilege to sit in that chair that once was occupied by Walter Cronkite … you know … it's a pretty confining venue.”
"I didn't mean to be coy, but I didn't want to jump the gun on any kind of successor."
Smiley contributed a chapter to Couric's latest book, "The Best Advice I Ever Got." The title of Smiley's section: "Failing Better."
That interview airs tonight on PBS.
Giving the news to both People and PBS, Couric was "trying to promote the book and raise the most money possible for charity," the person said.