Filling out the rumors floated in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, today the New York Times reports that a “wide-ranging discussion” about Katie Couric’s future took place among CBS executives back in February:
The conversation included what one participant said was some “idle talk and musings” about the big question hanging over CBS News: should Ms. Couric leave her position as the news anchor after the presidential election, a development that had long been rumored.
According to the Times, Ms. Couric talked about a number of possibilities should she leave the anchor post, including the idea of hosting a daily talk show or replacing Larry King at the 9 p.m. hour on CNN:
However, rumors from CBS News and reported in the news media may have, inadvertently or not, done what the meeting failed to do: ensured Ms. Couric’s early departure.
Over at the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz speculates about who might replace Ms. Couric. Possible internal candidates, according to Mr. Kurtz, include Harry Smith, Scott Pelley, and Russ Mitchell.
As for external candidates:
Among those whom CBS is said to covet most is Anderson Cooper, 40, who hosts CNN’s 10 p.m. show and moderated several presidential debates this season. Cooper, who doubles as a part-time “60 Minutes” correspondent, specializes in field reporting and brings a touch of celebrity as Gloria Vanderbilt’s son.
Another key name being bandied about by insiders, agents and media analysts is David Gregory, 37, NBC’s White House correspondent and an MSNBC anchor. Other NBC stars include Lester Holt, 49, the weekend co-host of “Today,” and Ann Curry, 51, the “Today” news anchor and frequent substitute for Williams. But several analysts doubted that CBS would turn to another woman.
At the same time, the Daily News speculated that Ms. Couric might return to Jeff Zucker and NBC, where she spent the bulk of her career:
Even though the news broadcast has fallen deeper into the ratings abyss under Couric, CBS doesn’t want to lose the perky TV princess to another network – especially to NBC, where she was the star of the “Today” Show.
“I would never rule out a return to the arms of the guy who brought her to the dance,” said a network TV insider. Even after 18 months at CBS, Couric “is so clearly identified with NBC,” the source added.