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Katie Couric tells People magazine - not her own network - she is leaving the CBS Evening News



katie-couric2.jpgIf there was any doubt Katie Couric's mind is pretty much on her next gig, it's probably been dispelled by the way she chose to confirm news which has been reported for weeks: That she is leaving the CBS Evening News when her contract expires in June.

Instead of telling a news outlet associated with her current employer, Couric told People magazine -- presumably, a publication she will need on her side when she moves into the job journalists have already widely reported she is developing, a syndicated talk show.

"I have decided to step down from the CBS Evening News," the anchor told PEOPLE exclusively. "I am looking at a format that will allow me to engage in more multi-dimensional storytelling," she said. Other details, she said, are "still being discussed."

CBS replied with its own terse statement: "There’s a lot to be proud of during Katie Couric’s time at Evening News.  CBS News, like Katie herself, is looking forward to the next chapter."

That seems to be network TV-ese for, as Cee Lo might say, "forget you."

There has always been a bit of strain between Couric and CBS News, from the early, anonymous leaks about dissatisfaction over her $15 million annual salary to the way her personal physician was hired as a medical correspondent at the same time a longtime medical reporter was let go.

Now, the speculation goes, Couric may develop a talk show to help ABC stations replace Oprah Winfrey's departing program, which once fed substantial ratings into their local early evening newscasts and boosted the network's 6:30 p.m. show .

That's right: If Couric's deal with ABC works out, she could help boost ratings for Diane Sawyer's newscast and keep her old network in third place. No wonder this transition feels about as comfortable as a Siberian prison transfer.

Bet CBS can't get Scott Pelley announced as the new evening anchor fast enough.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 3:55pm]


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