Katie Couric may not be hauling in the news viewers, but she still draws endless attention from the media that cover her.
In July, rumors were flying that Couric’s $15 million annual contract would be terminated sooner than its expiration date in June 2011, with NY Magazine speculating that CBS News brass are considering letting her go in September.
It doesn’t look like Couric will exit CBS by Labor Day, but The New York Times and the LA Times are doing their best to keep that pot stirred. On Aug. 1, the Times’ Brian Stelter ran a juicy story indicating that Couric had been in serious negotiations with CNN to take Larry King’s spot when his contract was to expire next May. But CNN grew impatient, Piers Morgan was clearly available and Couric couldn’t get out of her CBS contract, so there she remains for now.
(Side note: I guess I’ll have to see him in action, but I don’t really understand why Piers Morgan is the next Larry King. Yes, I too have read that he’s an interviewing God in Britain, but since we in the States have only seen him as a judge on the summer trifle, America’s Got Talent, I’m having a hard time comprehending why he won that job versus any other working TV journalist.)
Stelter lists a bevy of other options for Couric, including another spot on CNN’s primetime line-up – an option that makes perfect sense if CBS and CNN do form some kind of pact – or another job at CBS, including a daytime talk show. Couric has frequently been mentioned as the ideal host of a daytime talk show, but such a venture would be far riskier than anchoring the network evening news. And whether a spot will be available for such a show will depend on how well CBS’ new talker does starring Mrs. Leslie Moonves, Julie Chen, as well as Leah Remini, Sara Gilbert, Holly Robinson Peete, Marisa Jaret Winokur and one more person … sorry but my brain blanks out after five of anything.
Stelter also says that NBC chief Jeff Zucker — who was the EP of Couric’s former home, The Today Show all those years ago – would welcome her back with open arms. With NBC in the middle of closing its deal with Comcast, however, Zucker’s own fate still seems less than certain.
Meanwhile, Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for Couric, left Stelter with this helpful statement: “Katie is having fun, working hard and is proud of her team’s ongoing success at CBS. We’ll leave everyone else to enjoy their own summer of speculation.”
That we will.