CBS Explains Couric Picture Manipulation

Aug 30, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The nipping and tucking of incoming “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric in a publicity picture was “done unilaterally in the photo department” of the network, CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus said Wednesday.

Among the photos accompanying an article in CBS’s Watch! magazine was one featuring Ms. Couric during a public appearance for CBS at the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers last May. However, the photo had been doctored to make Ms. Couric appear pounds thinner – which landed the “before and after” photos first on the Web site TVnewser.com and the news pages of New York tabloids.

“It shouldn’t have been done,” said Mr. McManus, who said he was unaware of the photo play until he received an e-mail Tuesday afternoon, when he was in Baltimore.

Watch! is produced by the CBS Communications department and distributed at CBS affiliates and other network-related sites.

Communications Group Executive VP Gil Schwartz told the Associated Press Wednesday that the photo was altered by someone in the CBS photo department who “got a little zealous. I talked to my photo department, we had a discussion about it. I think photo understands this is not something we’d do in the future.”

Ms. Couric’s debut next Tuesday as anchor of the third-place “CBS Evening News” inspired a promotional campaign with a budget some reports peg at about $15 million.

Mr. McManus said he does not expect the photo snafu to produce any significant fallout.