EXCLUSIVE: Add a feature documentary to the list of new things Katie Couric is planning to explore as she is wrapping up her five-year stint as anchor of CBS Evening News. Couric is involved in a new feature documentary about obesity, which is currently in the works. It hails from Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey, directors of the 2009 documentary Tapped, about the the negative impact of bottled water on people’s health and the environment. Couric’s involvement in the new documentary stems from her relationship with Soechtig. Couric interviewed the filmmaker last summer in a segment about the bottled-water debate on her online series @katiecouric. Couric’s spokesman said that “Katie is being supportive of the project because she cares about the issue (of obesity).” Her exact role in the documentary is still TBD, but serving as a producer or narrator are among the possibilities. Couric is the final phase of deciding where she will sign a wide-ranging deal that would include a daytime syndicated talk show, news network presence and the launch of her own production company. CBS and NBC remain leading contenders, with CBS’ offer, which includes a 60 Minutes gig, said to be particularly strong. As for the latest Couric-related rumor, that that she may partner with former Today co-host Matt Lauer for her syndicated talk show, “there are no plans right now for us to work together,” Couric told reporters last night after a signing for her …
Katie Couric was on David Letterman last night amidst speculation that she is leaning towards leaving her CBS Evening News anchor job to do a daytime syndicated talk show when her contract is up in June. “I have no idea actually,” she said about her plans. “I’m figuring out what I want to do; I’m in the process of figuring out the future.”
Letterman gave her a pep talk about staying put. “Once you take the anchor chair, that’s what you do,” he said. “It’s not like it’s a temp gig.” He listed long-time evening news anchors like Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings. “They get in it, they saddle up and they ride into the sunset.”
“You can’t leave. Because it takes awhile, there’s a period of adjustment to get accustomed to the trust and build up faith in the character of the person presenting the news. And you can’t just pull the rug out from under the viewers.” Here is the video:
CBS News Shakeup: Sean McManus Steps Down To Focus On Sports, Jeff Fager Named Chairman, David Rhodes President
CBS News is getting a new leadership team. Sean McManus, who has served as president of CBS News and Sports since 2005, is stepping down as president of CBS News to assume the position of chairman, CBS Sports.
60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager is being upped to chairman of CBS News while continuing to work on 60 Minutes; and David Rhodes, the 37-year-old former head of U.S. Television for Bloomberg, has joined CBS News as president.
“While running our superb Sports Division, Sean has also done a terrific job steering CBS News through a period of transition and change, and the division is clearly on a better footing than it was the day he arrived,” CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves said. Sean McManus was named president, of CBS Sports, in November 1996 and president of CBS News in October 2005. He is only the second person in the industry to hold both division titles simultaneously; Roone Arledge held both at ABC from 1977-86.
Among the challenges for CBS News’ new toppers is dealing with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric whose contract is coming up.