Katie Couric Moves To CBS

Katie Couric announcement of leaving NBC Today Program 04/05/2006 NBC

Katie Couric announced on air Wednesday that she is stepping down as co-host of NBC's "Today" show after 15 years in the job.

She will join CBS News as Anchor and Managing Editor of The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric. She will also contribute to 60 Minutes and will anchor CBS News primetime specials as well.

"I wanted to tell all of you out there who have watched the show for the past 15 years that after listening to my heart and my gut, two things that have served me pretty well in the past, I've decided I'll be leaving 'Today' at the end of May," Couric said. "I really feel as if we've become friends through the years."

Her announcement ended months of intense speculation about her intentions. Couric called her decision to join CBS News "the worst kept secret in America." She had been courted by Les Moonves, CBS Corporation President and CEO, and Sean McManus, President of CBS News and Sports.

"Joining CBS is a unique opportunity that came at the right time for me. 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," Couric said.

Rome Hartman, executive producer of the CBS Evening News With Bob Schieffer told CBS' Public Eye that 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."

"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," Hartman said.

"I am personally so excited that Katie Couric is coming to the CBS News family," said Moonves. "Katie is simply one of the best in the business and represents a tremendous addition to CBS News."

McManus called it an "enormously proud day for all of us at CBS News."

Couric, too, is looking forward to the move. "Sometimes I think change is a good thing," Couric added. "Although it may be terrifying to get out of your comfort zone, it's also very exciting to start a new chapter in your life."

"It's hard to imagine being here and not having you sitting next to us," co-host Matt Lauer told her.

Couric, 49, co-anchor of NBC's "Today," will take the reins in September from interim anchor Bob Schieffer, who has held the job for more than year. Schieffer replaced longtime anchor Dan Rather.

"I couldn't be happier," Schieffer said. "Katie and I have been friends for years. She's going to be a terrific addition to CBS News. I think we're going to love Katie, and I think Katie's going to love us."

Read and comment about coverage of this story in Public Eye.
Couric is said to be intrigued with the opportunities afforded by making a switch, especially the chance to return to hard news full time. In a 2005 New Yorker article, Couric told Ken Auletta, "I have, when it's operating on all four cylinders, one of the best jobs in television. At the same time, everybody needs recharging."

"Katie is a world-class reporter," said Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes. "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."
  • Melissa McNamara

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