Katie Couric Likely To Leave CBS Evening News - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Katie Couric Likely To Leave CBS Evening News

THEDAILYBEAST.COM - The search is on for Katie Couric's successor. The new CBS News chairman, Jeff Fager, is looking at candidates both within and outside the network, insiders say.

One strong contender if Couric vacates the anchor chair in early June, as now seems almost certain, is veteran newsman Scott Pelley. The 60 Minutes correspondent has long been a favorite of Fager, who doubles as the show's executive producer. But with Fager taking a methodical approach to his first major decision, Pelley is not a lock.

A few short weeks ago, the expectation in the Couric camp—after discussions with top CBS management—was that she would sign a new deal to stay in the anchor's job through the 2012 elections as she figured out the next phase of her career. But the thinking on both sides has now changed as Couric has aggressively tested the waters—and found substantial interest in her services.

After jumping from the Today show in 2006, Couric realized what many skeptics had predicted, that a 22-minute newscast was confining and gave her little opportunity to showcase her interviewing and ad libbing talents. She is now exploring daytime or syndication deals—including with CBS, whose chairman, Les Moonves, remains a strong supporter. CBS is hopeful about finding a way to keep Couric, but her team is also talking to her former network, NBC; to ABC, and to Time Warner.

If she is to launch a syndicated program in the fall of 2012, it would debut in the middle of the general election campaign—and the enormous preparation involved in such a launch would be difficult if her day job was as a network anchor.

Couric told David Letterman this week she has "no idea" what comes next when her five-year deal expires. "I'm figuring out what I want to do," she said.

Fager has been notably noncommittal about his star anchor, fostering the impression that he is open to a change. When he was named chairman, Fager said he wanted to "spend some time with Katie to find out what she wants to do and what she sees is best for her and what's best for CBS News."

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