April 5, 2006

Couric says to leave NBC for rival CBS

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Today" show host Katie Couric
announced her departure from NBC on Wednesday to join rival
CBS, where she was expected to become the first sole woman
anchor of a major U.S. network evening newscast.

Couric told her "Today" audience she was leaving at the end
of May after 15 years as host, longer than any other anchor of
the morning show, to join the CBS "Evening News" and "60

Couric is one of the most highly paid figures in U.S.
television, signing a 4 1/2-year renewal deal with NBC in
December 2001 that sources said was worth about $60 million.

Speculation about Couric's future has generated intense
media attention due to her enormous popularity, the economic
interests at stake for all three major networks and the
landmark nature of the move.

Sources close to the situation said on condition of
anonymity on Tuesday that Couric, 49, had agreed to replace
veteran CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer in the evening
anchor chair.

In that role, she would follow network television veterans
Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather. Schieffer took over for Rather
on a temporary basis in March last year after Rather stepped

Couric's contract with NBC expires on May 31, but sources
said the network allowed her to enter into early direct
negotiations with CBS as part of an amicable parting of the

Three women -- Barbara Walters in the 1970s on ABC, Connie
Chung on CBS in the 1990s and more recently Elizabeth Vargas on
ABC -- have been appointed alongside men as co-hosts of a
weeknight newscast on one of the major networks. But Couric
would be the first given the anchor job permanently in her own