What Katie Leaves Behind

by Melissa Brunner

I originally titled this "Katie's Legacy," but I think it's clear Katie Couric isn't ready to hang up her microphone entirely just yet. Couric confirmed Tuesday that she will leave the CBS Evening News to pursue opportunities she says she's not quite nailed down yet, or, at least, not ready to make public.

In searching for articles on the announcement, I'm seeing her time as the first solo anchor of a network evening newscast referred to as an "experiment," that she was all about generating "buzz" and "star power," but was never able to bring the CBS Evening News out of its last-place rating.

A blog posted on Time magazine's web site about the departure, I think, provides a pretty good snapshot of the various issues surrounding Couric's tenure. (You can read it here: http://tunedin.blogs.time.com/2011/04/26/its-official-katie-couric-leaving-cbs-evening-news/) It seems to echo many thoughts I had when Couric was first hired. I believed at the time, and still do, that Couric's success or failure shouldn't be based on her gender. The blog suggests, though, that people's perceptions of Couric may have related to her gender. The larger problem might just be the facts of today's evening news audience - it's eroding. Tough to grow what's shrinking. At the same time, the quality of her work and the work of the CBS team earned many prestigious awards. Perhaps her stint as the first solo woman anchor has taken some of the attention/pressure/prejudices off Diane Sawyer at ABC. 

What do you think? Was it just the wrong role for Couric? Do you look forward to her potentially launching a talk show? Do you think anyone will be able to succeed in the form of ratings?


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