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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX THU MARCH 16, 2006 09:15:23 ET XXXXX
HOUSE DIVIDED: CBS NEWS STAFF SPLIT ON KATIE COURIC AS ANCHOR
CBS President Les Moonves is convinced Katie Couric is the right person for the job of CBS EVENING NEWS anchor -- despite warnings from top management that the move could have lackluster results, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
As Couric just now enters a legal window where she can entertain a move to CBS, excitement and anxiety is building inside the fishbowl at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York.
But not everyone is rooting for a Couric revolution.
Nervous executives at CBS have been examining tapes of Couric from August 2001 -- and nitpicking her performance -- when she substituted for a vacationing Tom Brokaw.
"Politely put, it's just not there," warned a top CBS suit, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Look, why do you think NBC passed her over for Brian Williams? They can say she was worth more to them in the mornings, but I really think it came down to how she came off in the [anchor] chair.
"She is not identified with CBS, and she is not identified with 'news'... it will be an uphill challenge for her here. Maybe Les will have her doing the news on a couch."
CBS is fully prepared to offer Couric the anchor chair at CBS, plus a rotating seat at 60 MINUTES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
Moonves has told senior staff that Couric will be made to feel welcome, and CBS NEWS cannot be afraid of change.
"Look we are only 600,000 viewers away from catching and passing ABC, I maintain now is not the time for this," explained one executive, who would work daily with Couric if she made the move.
"I am not being sexist here," said a third Couric detractor at CBS NEWS, who also spoke on condition he not be named. "I am looking at all of this with a very open mind. But I am worried."
Filed By Matt Drudge
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