It's been rumored for weeks, but a CBS Evening News official is now (anonymously) confirming that Katie Couric is leaving her anchor post. Couric, 54, the first woman in US history to be sole anchor of a daily network news program, plans to start a syndicated talk show some time next year. Couric moved from NBC's Today show to began as CBS anchor in 2006 with major hoopla. But much of her first curious audience drifted away and CBS was stuck in third place behind NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams and ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer. Couric's current contract is up June 4, but it's not yet clear when she will step down, reports AP.
CBS Sunday news anchor Russ Mitchell, 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley and former Early Show co-host Harry Smith are being considered to replace Couric, and the network will also look at candidates currently working elsewhere, according to sources. Several companies are seeking to produce Couric's next venture. Some blame the falling fortunes of network news for the ouster of the $15 million-a-year anchor. "There are people who love Katie and those who don't love her and that was a factor," said Rome Hartman, Couric's first executive producer on the news show. "But it was the overall dynamics. There was a rock that we couldn't move and I don't think it would have mattered who we would have put in there."