In one of the most over-reported stories in recent memory, Katie Couric finally announced this week that she is leaving “Today” for the CBS Evening News. Honestly, show of hands on who really cares. I mean, I get that she’ll be the first woman anchor, a breakthrough long overdue, but beyond that….nothing. All newscasters, be they male or female, come off as clones and thus the long-running game of musical (anchor) chairs is less than intriguing. It’s not like CBS hired Mandisa for the job, who is now available after getting the boot on American Idol. Now that would be news. But Katie’s out, Meredith’s in, big whoop. (A side bet, though, with any R&Rer out there – ten bucks she changes her name to Kate. You can pull off Katie at 7a.m. while playing footsie with Lauer, but it doesn’t play so hot when you’re filling Cronkite’s shoes.)
But (there’s always a but), in the deluge of coverage dedicated to the wanderings of Ms. Couric, one priceless item: a reporter profiled a family meeting at the Couric household where the decision to leave for CBS was finally made. Gathered at the table were Katie’s two kids, ages 14 and 10, and her parents. In what is undoubtedly the most flagrant p.r. con-job ever perpetrated, Katie’s kids are described as giving mom a big ol' thumbs up and chanting in unison “Go for it!”
Now, I wasn’t there, but I have a fairly good idea of how that scene really went down. First, Katie’s burning desire for the CBS gig was no secret. And the stories of “Today” staffers cowering under desks when they heard those heels clicking down the hall are legendary. So, why do I think that while Katie was presenting the new job opportunity to her spawn, she was oh-so-gently sliding a certain European boarding school brochure across the kitchen table, maintaining piercing eye contact, perhaps slightly arching one brow. “O.K. kids, who thinks Mommy should go to CBS? Hmmm? Carrie, honey, can you say ‘lycée?’ That’s it. Sound it out.” I mean, really, the whole thing seemed a little Mommie Dearest.
So Good Night and Good Luck to Ms. Couric at CBS. Let’s hope wardrobe remembers to lose the wire hangers.