Katie Couric Brings Home the Bacon

What Everyone Is Talking About

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Katie Couric has already made CBS $15 million and she hasn't even got behind the anchor desk yet. Speaking to analysts yesterday, CBS Corp. Chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves said the company wouldn't be making any major acquisitions. But one participant reminded him of one big buy he made in recent weeks, Ms. Couric, who agreed in May to quit NBC's "Today" after 15 years to join the CBS "Early Evening News" this fall.
Katie Couric
Katie Couric

"Katie probably paid for herself in the first week of our upfront," Mr. Moonves responded. "We brought in about $15 million more for the 'Early Evening News' in the first week." That should cover her first year's salary, given that CBS is reportedly paying the news anchor $15 million a year. When it was announced that Couric was shifting to CBS, media-agency executives played down the significance of the move and offered that they didn't expect an uptick in sales as a result. A few weeks ago, however, CBS said it had been contacted by marketers that aren't traditional evening-news advertisers, an indication of more interest than folks had been letting on.

Mr. Moonves predicted that Ms. Couric's move from the "Today" show, coupled with Charlie Gibson's departure from ABC's "Good Morning America," would yield some turmoil in morning viewership. If that occurs, Mr. Moonves will be hoping for windfall in the morning hours, too. CBS plans to use Ms. Couric occasionally during the a.m.

When asked if he's planning any other "talent" acquisitions, Mr. Moonves quipped: "She will be one of the best bargains. I've already made my money back. There aren't too many Katies."
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