So you think it's all been said about Katie Couric's troubles after New York Magazine's Cover piece?
OK, we learned that she entertains the occasional regret, now that CBS News' nightly ratings have tanked so decisively. And can get so put off by the sudden appearance of the word "sputum" in the day's script that she'll repeatedly and not-so-playfully punch the offending news writer on the arm.
But does that mean CBS honcho Les Moonves is wasting $15 million a year?
There's no way of knowing how he feels exactly until he starts talking about things as freely as Couric (at that point, Dairy Queens will open all over Hell). But consider this: he didn't just hire Couric to be the woman in the window at CBS' Nightly News, he got her off the "Today" show, which, by some lights, is the biggest programming moneymaker in all of TV.
And the news at "Today" is that despite Meredith Vieira's obvious charm and appeal, the show is now suffering the occasional, if infrequent, ratings wobble.
Couric and the CBS Evening News may be where all the cover stories and headlines are, but "Today" is where the money is, which makes even the slightest weakness there much more important. What Moonves did, then, may not be, in sports terms, a brilliant offensive ploy, but it was a work of defensive genius.
-- Jeff Simon