From The Daily Beast
For Katie Couric—who replaced Bob Schieffer as anchor of The CBS Evening News nearly three years ago and has spent much of her time since as a television-press piñata—things are finally looking up. A small surge in the ratings for her third-place newscast has been accompanied by professional awards and critical raves, dispelling earlier rumors that Couric and CBS will part company well before the end of her five-year-contract.
“If Couric stands a chance of elevating the newscast to second or first place in the nightly ratings, one reason may be that she’s finally the right anchor for the times,” The Washington Post’s authoritative Tom Shales wrote the other day in the kind of media valentine that has been filling up her in-box lately. “Not simply because she is a woman, Couric has a warmer, more benevolent presence than her two competitors… That doesn’t mean she tries to sugarcoat or prettify grim realities. She has proved her toughness time and again.”
On Wednesday afternoon after a long weekend in Mexico, the 52-year-old Couric sat down with me in her windowless office in the rabbit warren at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street.
Two years ago, everybody was saying this move to the anchor desk is a disaster, Katie can’t stay here too much longer. The worm has turned—why is that?
I don’t think everybody was saying this is a disaster. I think there were a handful of media critics maybe, and then some media writers who basically regurgitated stuff that was already out there, so it became a bit of a feeding frenzy.
Clearly, things weren’t going as well as we had hoped, the ratings weren’t doing as well as we had hoped. I think we had a change in executive producer pretty early on, but I never felt like my hair was on fire, and, oh my god! I also think part of it was kind of a typical hazing that you go through when you’re in a very high-profile position, and an established person coming from another network after being there for 17 years, a brand-new job that had never really been held by a solo female.
So I think there was a lot of interest, a lot of the spotlight was pretty white-hot. I never felt like “Oh woe is me,” even though that New York magazine headline said, “Some mornings I wake up and say, ‘Oh my god, what have I done?’” But if you open the magazine, it says, “I think 98 percent of the time I’m really happy I made the move.”
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