Katie Couric by John Paul Filo/CBS
One of the network morning shows recently did a piece about how the bad economy is keeping some couples from getting divorced.
We were reminded of it when watching CBS News president Sean McManus and CBS Evening News
anchor Katie Couric
's address (via satellite from New York) before the Television Critics Association on Friday. We're not saying that money is what's keeping CBS News and its ratings challenged star together. But whatever conversations Couric had with network bosses about leaving the network earlier this year have reached an impasse. It's not likely that Couric, as disappointed as she might be in how she's fared at the anchor desk of the CBS Evening News, is going to walk away from $15 million a year. Likewise, CBS News is not ready to pay her to go away.
"It's not true," McManus said when asked by a reporter whether Couric will depart after the presidential inauguration in January, as many have speculated.
Couric also denied that that there was an exit date tied to inauguration. "We have no plans to part company anytime soon," she said. "We always assess how the show is doing and what direction we want to go in. Clearly when you work for an organization you have ongoing discussions. But I'm very committed to the people here and very committed to the product."
Fortunately for CBS News, Couric is a great pro who works hard and cares about serious news. She's genuine when she talks with pride about the work she's done on the CBS Evening News. "I spend every day being focused on doing the best job that I can," she said.
But the fact is, the program is still a distant third in the ratings behind NBC Nightly News
with Brian Williams and ABC World News
with Charles Gibson, hitting record lows as the overall audience for network evening newscasts continues to erode. McManus says CBS News is focused on the quality of the newscast, not ratings. But the numbers will still ultimately decide whether this TV marriage can be saved.