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Friday, April 07, 2006


After months of intense speculation, it's now official.

Katie Couric, host of US television's most popular morning programme , the 'Today' show has resigned. She leaves NBC end May to join rival CBS.

Now why is this significant? After all this is a world full of anchors.

For one 49 year old Couric, spent 15 years anchoring "Today" -- longer than any other anchor of the 54-year-old morning show. 'Today' has ranked as the top network show in morning ratings for more than a decade, making it one of the most important assets of NBC. Staying consistently on top for all those years is a huge achievement. More so in an industry where eyeballs skid quick time.

What's even more impressive is that Couric heads on to anchor CBS's evening newscast, "Evening News" and "60 Minutes". With that she becomes
become the first sole woman anchor of a major US network evening newscast.

Widely tipped to take Couric's place is 52 year Meredith Vieira. How NBC handles the transition from Couric to Vieira will be crucial in protecting a business that delivers over $200 million a year in profits on some $600 million in ad sales (we're talking US $).

It is NBC's most profitable programme and the network, which has been suffering a slump in its primetime schedule, simply cannot afford to let 'Today' skip a beat say media watchers.

The CBS though is clearly hoping its investment in Couric will pay off. The network has agreed to pay her US $75 million over five years to anchor the 22-minute "Evening News" and contribute to "60 Minutes" with bonuses tied to ratings gains.

Now, if you are losing your breath over that, hold it right there, coz that is just slightly less than what NBC now pays Couric to co-anchor the three-hour "Today" broadcast.

Ok the money she's making is disgusting, it could feed half the world in one go, but for the sheer sustaining power of a show and the ability to make her mark on an evening newscast as a sole female presenter - that too in the US, I can't resist saying : HAIL KATIE!