CBS Anchor Chair: It Could Have Been Vieira


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.