'Evening News' Executive Producer Rome Hartman on Katie Couric

This morning I spoke to Rome Hartman, executive producer of the CBS "Evening News," about today's announcement that Katie Couric will become the "Evening News" anchor.

"Every 'Evening News' broadcast has reflected the personality of the anchor, and this one will too," said Hartman. "She brings a lot to the table, and the show will reflect her taste, talent, skills and personality."

Hartman said he did not know for sure until this morning that Couric had decided to take the job, and characterized her decision as one "we were hoping fervently she would make."

Traditionally, CBS News anchors have come from within CBS News. I asked Hartman, who has worked at CBS News since 1983, the significance of Couric coming from outside the system.

"She comes from a different network and a different culture, but we're all television journalists," he said. "It's not like she's coming from a different profession. In a lot of ways, it will help to have a fresh perspective. And it's not just anybody – we're talking about Katie Couric, and she's coming from NBC, which is a fabulous institution."

As for how the newsroom was reacting to the news, Hartman said "people are very excited."

"Bob [Schieffer] came into the job fully intending for it to be a temporary assignment," said Hartman. "He's been fabulous, and put us on very solid footing. Now we know more about the future."

Hartman did not get into specifics about how the program would develop and change in preparation for Couric's first day, calling the process "organic." He said he would respect Couric's commitment to NBC, but would be talking to her about her vision for the "Evening News" soon. "I'm very eager to get started talking to her and listening to her," he said.

Comments