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Flash!

4/07/2006 08:00:00 PM Eastern

“Katie Couric’s Legs” Are Made for Walkin’

As the frenzied speculation over Katie Couric’s likely departure from Today began to boil over in the weeks leading up to her announcement last Wednesday, some Katie watchers were apparently already missing her—or at least her most famous pair of assets.

According to the online-measurement company Hitwise, Internet search terms that included the words “Katie Couric” spiked in the four-week period that ended April 1. In a ranking of the most popular search terms, “katie couric leg pictures” was No. 3 while “photos of katie couric’s legs” came in at No. 6.

We can only assume that fans of Couric’s legendarily luminous gams, fearing they would soon disappear forever behind the CBS anchor desk, wanted to revel in the 15 years when they were on display on Today.

As if Couric weren’t burdened enough with having to prove she has the substance to be an anchor!

But really, who knows what The Evening News With Katie Couric might look like come September? Given CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves’ comment last year that “it might be time to change it up and do something different,” perhaps Couric will eschew the desk altogether and deliver the news with crossed legs in full view.

Then there are the fans who’d be happy if she just went sleeveless—No. 7 on the list: “katie couric’s biceps.”

Blame the Messenger

Before Katie Couric became a shoo-in for the CBS anchor chair, a certain other morning-show host was on the short list of candidates to fill the job: in-coming Today host Meredith Vieira.

According to a CBS insider, a couple of years back, when the network brass were looking to boot Dan Rather off the desk, informal feelers were put out to gauge Vieira’s interest. But one has to wonder just how serious they were, considering that one of the emissaries dispatched was ex-60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt.

Students of the business, who remember Vieira’s abbreviated tenure at 60 Minutes, will appreciate the irony.

After all, it was Hewitt who forced Vieira out in 1991. After she became pregnant with her second child, he refused to extend the arrangement that had allowed her to work half-time for two seasons while caring for her first child.

“Did somebody at CBS really think Hewitt was the guy to sell her on the place, given their history?” says our source. “It made the whole thing a non-starter.”

That much is obvious.

Tough Talker

Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson’s first novel, Between the Bridge and the River, comes out April 10, and if you’re expecting a lurid roman à clef about the TV business, forget it. This is true literary fiction. Go read Bill O’Reilly’s Those Who Trespass.

But Ferguson’s book does offer some choice words about the business that probably won’t put it high on CNN host Larry King’s reading list.

During a scene in which a character flips on his hotel TV set, Ferguson—er, the narrator—winds up with a glib appraisal of the “Cable News Network,” which, he says, “promised up-to-the-minute news reports twenty-four hours a day but, of course, there isn’t always news to report. So, in order to fill the airtime with something that felt like news, the Cable News people like to put on interview shows.”

Here’s where King might want to stop reading.

“The interview show that was airing,” the narrator continues, “was hosted by a gentleman named Larry King, a pompous narcissist who thought he was a tough intellectual because he wore suspenders and had a voice that sounded like an aged camel in sexual ecstasy.”

Snap! You didn’t just make fun of Larry’s suspenders, did you?

Neither Ferguson nor King responded to our inquiries. But Flash! suspects that Ferguson—who routinely, um, impersonates King on The Late Late Show—meant it all in jest.

Still, we feel that Ferguson should know that, while King may not be an intellectual, the man who grew up Larry Zieger in Brooklyn’s Bensonhurst neighborhood was once in a gang called the Warriors and was known on the street as Zeke the Creek the Mouth Piece. (Look it up.)

Now, how tough is that?

March