CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, second left, poses for a photo with Marine Lance Cpl. James Cline, from Asheville, N.C., left, and Sgt. Mary Alice Leone, from East Boston, Mass., as she waits for President Bush's statement at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, Monday, Sept. 3, 2007. The president made an unannounced visit to Iraq to meet with Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general of the multinational forces in Iraq, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, Iraqi leaders, and U.S. troops. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
NEW YORK -- This week, Katie Couric is planning to acknowledge one of the worst-kept secrets in television: that she is leaving the CBS Evening News after five years. Then, as soon as she returns from London, where she will be anchoring the network’s coverage of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, CBS will announce her successor during the first week of May.
The meticulously arranged exit plan was described by four people with knowledge of it, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was not supposed to be revealed before the formal announcement.
Ms. Couric’s contract with CBS ends on June 4th, and the network is said to want a month for a transition. "60 Minutes" Correspondent Scott Pelley is expected to succeed Ms. Couric. A transition has been fodder for the media for most of a month, but Ms. Couric insisted as recently as April 13th that she had not decided about staying or going.
Ms. Couric batted away constant questions about her future during the recent publicity tour for her new book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got.” “I’m just in the middle of figuring it out,” she told Matt Lauer on her former show, Today. “I’m not in a position to discuss it at this point,” she told Barbara Walters on The View.
Privately, some at CBS complained about the public uncertainty surrounding the CBS Evening News. But the exit plan will begin to clear the air.
CBS executives are interviewing candidates to be the executive producer of Pelley’s newscast, two of the people with knowledge of the plan said.