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Couric’s Multiyear CBS Deal Includes Prime-Time Specials

Apr 5, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Three hours after Katic Couric told the TV world she is leaving the “Today” show at the end of May, CBS made its official announcement that she has a multiyear agreement to be anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric,” contributor to “60 Minutes” and anchor of prime-time CBS News specials starting in September.

She will make TV history as the first solo female anchor of a network flagship newscast.

Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., and CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus, made the announcement mid-morning Wednesday.

“Joining CBS is a unique opportunity that came at the right time for me,” Ms. Couric said in the CBS announcement. “I’m thrilled to become part of the rich tradition of CBS News and look forward to working with the many extraordinarily talented people there.”

Mr. Moonves, who had fervently worked for a year to hire Ms. Couric, said in the announcement: “Katie is simply one of the best in the business and represents a tremendous addition to CBS News, which continues to grow and improve every day under Sean’s leadership. Seasoned broadcasters who are at once respected, charismatic and known throughout this country and beyond are increasingly important in this fragmented media landscape. I’m proud to have a talent like Katie who personifies this rare combination of qualities, and look forward to the many contributions that she will make not only to our developing evening news broadcast, but to our entire news operation.”

“She is a key ingredient as we work toward our goal of making CBS News the number one news organization in America. This organization was built on quality and integrity, and Katie and her CBS News colleagues will continue to carry that legacy into the 21st century,” Mr. McManus said.

“I would also like to offer our deepest thanks to Bob Schieffer for his outstanding work on the evening broadcast and look forward to his continuing role at CBS News,” Mr. McManus said about the veteran who has tightened the competitive gap with second-place “ABC World News Tonight” during his year as interim anchor of “Evening News.”

“Katie and I have been friends for years. She’s going to be a terrific addition to CBS News,” Mr. Schieffer said. “I think we’re going to love Katie, and I think Katie’s going to love us.”

“In the past year, the ‘CBS Evening News’ has begun to build a broadcast with a fresh, accessible approach, and viewers have responded. Katie is the perfect person to complete that process,” said Rome Hartman, executive producer of “Evening News” who has known Ms. Couric since they both worked in Washington in the late 1980s. “As a journalist, an interviewer and a broadcaster, she is as good as they come. As anchor of the ‘CBS Evening News,’ the same qualities that viewers have appreciated for Katie’s entire career will make her great: honesty, openness, integrity. Finally, what people appreciate most about Katie is that she’s real — that’s really her up on the screen. I cannot wait to start working with her.”

“Katie is a world-class reporter,” said “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager. “There aren’t many people in this business who can conduct an interview as well as she can. It’s no wonder Don Hewitt was chasing her for years to be on this broadcast, and it’s exciting that it’s finally going to happen.”

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