Lots of chatter out there today about Katie. Wall Street Journal’s Brooks Barnes wraps up all the recent speculation as to what NBC will do without its star into a nice package laying out possible replacements, the dangers for NBC if she were to go, especially if the announcement of her departure lands right before the upfront negotiations. Meanwhile, the New York Post’s “Page Six” floats the May 26 last-day scenario. That item also picks up on a Feb. 20 report from Broadcasting & Cable’s J. Max Robins that Couric had already had "what if" conversations with NBC producers about coming with her to CBS.
If she were to go, that is. Officially, Couric is still not talking, with lots of no comments from her rep sprinkled throughout all these accounts. The Post quotes a spy saying that if she doesn’t go, the producers are “screwed” since they haven’t renewed their contracts with “Today” yet.
Apparently, not everyone at CBS is convinced she’s the right person to save network news, especially since Bob Schieffer has been doing a respectable job holding and growing the audience. On March 16, the Drudge Report quoted several anonymous CBS executives as being down on Couric as the new face of CBS News, despite Chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves’ enthusiasm to get her. Drudge reported that “nervous” CBS insiders have been “nitpicking” Couric’s performance in August 2001 when she filled in for Tom Brokaw, and have been disappointed. One is quoted as saying, “She is not identified with CBS, and she is not identified with 'news' ... it will be an uphill challenge for her here. Maybe Les will have her doing the news on a couch.”