Photo Credit: CBS
Katie Couric's final night behind the CBS Evening News anchor desk unfolded like most others. For the majority of Thursday's show, there was no mention that her historic role -- as the first woman to (solely) anchor a national news show -- was coming to an end. That is, until the last five minutes.
Watch the video below to see Couric, 54, sign off for the last time, with a five-minute retrospective of her five-year stint at CBS thrown in for good measure.
"It's been an extraordinary privilege to sit in this chair, and a real honor to work with so many talented people at CBS News," Couric said in introducing the five-minute highlight reel. And when it was over, she said her last goodbye from the anchor chair. "And to all of you watching, thank you so much for coming along with me on this incredible journey," she concluded. "That's the CBS Evening News for tonight. I'm Katie Couric. Goodnight."
Watching the clips of her war-zone interviews, her investigative reporting and the tough questions she threw at high-ranking political leaders, it's discouraging to recall that ratings plummeted during Couric's time at CBS. Despite high-profile interviews with people like Valerie Plame, Alex Rodriquez and President Barack Obama, as well as that infamous interview with Sarah Palin, she never attracted the viewership she enjoyed while on Today.
Obviously, on that show, she covered a broader spectrum of stories, many of them fluffy ones. Her decision to join CBS Evening News, and focus on serious and hard-hitting news, cost her scores of viewers. The show's executive producer, Rick Kaplan, recognized that stories like the Afghanistan war aren't ratings-grabbers, but covering such issues was important and worth the effort. And despite the hit her reputation took, Couric clearly jumped in with both feet. She proved she could be a serious journalist, and hold her own in a position previously occupied only by men. Sadly, her good work wasn't rewarded with ratings.
But Couric's career is hardly over. While reporter Scott Pelley will take over her anchor spot, rumor has it that Couric close to signing a deal with ABC for an afternoon talk show -- one that might even reunite her with her former Today co-anchor Matt Lauer. Stay tuned for more news on this front...