Couric Set to Depart Evening News Thursday

Katie Couric’s last day as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS will be this Thursday.

Couric made the announcement at the conclusion of Friday’s broadcast, ending speculation on how close to the end of her contract she’d actually remain at the big desk.

Her replacement, 60 MINUTES correspondent Scott Pelley, won’t take over anchoring duties until June 6th, which will leave a hole to be filled by rotating anchors.  One likely fill-in will be Harry Smith, who was appointed the show’s primary fill-in anchor when he was taken off THE EARLY SHOW in January.

Couric also said that on Thursday’s broadcast, she would relive some of the big stories covered during her five years at CBS News.

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It’s Official…Sort of.

An unnamed CBS source confirmed over the weekend that Katie Couric will leave her CBS EVENING NEWS anchor slot.

I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself from the shock of that announcement.

Couric, who has been rumored to be “this close” to leaving for more than a year now, hasn’t announced any official plans. The source, who spoke to the Associated Press anonymously because Couric has made no such announcement, couldn’t provide a date that Couric would step down or the name of her replacement.

Her contract expires in early June. Speculation of late has placed 60 MINUTES correspondent Scott Pelley as the leading contender to replace her. But there’s also Harry Smith, who left CBS’s EARLY SHOW in January to become the primary substitute anchor for Couric, Bob Schieffer on FACE THE NATION and Charles Osgood on SUNDAY MORNING.

Russ Mitchell may also be an internal candidate, the AP reports.

But even with three solid options in-house, that doesn’t mean that CBS wouldn’t seriously consider bringing in someone from outside CBS News.

So we’re left with only a slightly more credible story that the 54-year-old Couric’s tenure on the evening newscast is coming to an end.

Some time. Likely soon.

Or not.

Insiders: Couric offered ’60 Minutes’ slot

Katie Couric/©CBS, Inc.

Over the weekend, speculation began circulating that 60 MINUTES correspondent Scott Pelley was a leading contender to take over the CBS EVENING NEWS when Katie Couric’s contract is up.  Insiders at the network told the New York Post that Couric has been offered a package that would move her to the venerable news magazine.

The offer could be attractive enough to persuade Couric to do a possible syndicated daytime talk show through CBS, which is the largest syndicator.

Pelley, 53, has been with CBS since 1989, and has been a 60 MINUTES correspondent since 2004.  Before that, he contributed to 60 MINUTES II, and previously served as the network’s chief White House correspondent.

Couric, 54, who left NBC’s Today show to take over the CBS EVENING NEWS in 2006, is wrapping up a five-year contract which expires this June.  Early speculation suggested that CBS would ask Couric to remain in that position through the 2012 elections, but the newest rumors say Couric and Pelley could trade places sooner than that.

Curiously unmentioned in the rumor mill is CBS Senior Correspondent Harry Smith, who left THE EARLY SHOW this past January to become the primary substitute anchor for Couric, and also for Bob Schieffer on FACE THE NATION and Charles Osgood on SUNDAY MORNING.  Couric is said to be on vacation this week, so Smith is the likely fill-in.

Though Couric never brought CBS the evening news ratings success executives were hoping for, here in the Lowcountry, the CBS EVENING NEWS scored better in February in household viewers than the nationally top-rated NBC Nightly News.

Anchor Changes on the Way to Early Show

CBS’s morning program, THE EARLY SHOW, is undergoing major anchor changes, CBS News has confirmed.

Harry Smith/CBS

As reported by the Associated Press and TV Newser, anchors Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Price are leaving the show.

Chris Wragge and Erica Hill, current anchors of the Saturday edition of the program, and Marysol Castro, a former weather correspondent of ABC’s Good Morning, America, will replace them.  Jeff Glor will be the news anchor in the new lineup.

The new lineup will debut on January 3rd, CBS News President Sean McManus said.

“We constantly focus on how to improve the broadcast, and we think we have a terrific combination in Erica, Chris, Jeff and Marysol. This new team brings vibrancy, intelligence and warmth that I think America will grow to love,” McManus said.

Maggie Rodriguez/CBS

Wragge and Hill have co-anchored the Saturday Edition of THE EARLY SHOW since 2008.  Hill also has been News Anchor for THE EARLY SHOW since January of this year. Wragge has also been co-anchor of CBS 2 News at 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM in New York, the nation’s largest market, a position he has held since 2006.

Glor has anchored the Saturday edition of the CBS EVENING NEWS and been a National Correspondent reporting for all CBS News broadcasts since 2009.  He has also been a substitute anchor for the CBS EVENING NEWS since March 2007. Castro served as the weather and feature correspondent of ABC News’ weekend edition of Good Morning America from 2004 to 2010.

Dave Price/CBS

CBS has confirmed that Smith, Rodriquez and Price will continue at CBS News in new roles.

Smith will shift his focus to hard news with an expanded role as primary substitute anchor on the CBS EVENING NEWS, FACE THE NATION and SUNDAY MORNING, while continuing to report major stories for all CBS News broadcasts. Smith has been anchor of THE EARLY SHOW since October, 2002, and previously anchored a past morning news program for the network, CBS THIS MORNING, from 1987 to 1996. He joined CBS News in 1986.

Discussions are currently underway concerning the roles Rodriquez and Price will have. Rodriguez joined THE EARLY SHOW in December 2007 and is also a substitute anchor on the CBS EVENING NEWS. Price joined CBS News in July, 2003.

CBS’s EARLY SHOW has been the third-rated morning news program and has struggled for years in ratings against GMA and NBC’s Today.

THE EARLY SHOW airs weekdays 7:00-9:00am, following the Lowcountry’s top-rated local early news program, LIVE 5 NEWS THIS MORNING.

Price Tries to Find His Way Home

CBS’s EARLY SHOW is sending Dave Price packing…again.

And this time around, viewers will decide where he’ll be dropped off with only a mobile phone and $50 in cash as part of his “No Way Home” series, which begins next week.

Viewers can vote through noon on November 10th for the location where he’ll be left behind on Monday: Anchorage, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle or Newport, Oregon.

It’s the second year that Price will be given the assignment of finding his way all the way back to the CBS studios in New York City. Last year, he worked on a Colorado ranch, sang for change in the Milwaukee airport and cleaned toilets in a Nebraska fraternity house, all to raise money to make it back.

Price will receive a one-way air ticket to the destination viewers decide on during Thursday morning’s EARLY SHOW. After leaving for that destination, he’ll have just eight days to get back to THE EARLY SHOW plaza on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. Price will update viewers on his location each day of the journey, and viewers will be able to follow his progress for themselves on Price’s Twitter account, @earlyshowdave.

Vote now at CBSNews.com and be sure to watch his efforts to get home starting Thursday on THE EARLY SHOW, weekdays at 7:00am on LIVE 5 WCSC.

Talk Show to Replace Canceled Soap

CBS is replacing its oldest soap opera, AS THE WORLD TURNS, with a new talk show, the network announced late Wednesday.

Julie Chen, currently hosting the summer reality hit BIG BROTHER, will be one of the moderators for the show, which will be similar in style to ABC’s The View, but will feature five moms around the table.

Other panelists will include reality star Sharon Osbourne,  and actresses Leah Remini, Holly Robinson Peete, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Sara Gilbert.

Gilbert, known for her role as back-talking daughter Darlene Conner on Roseanne, will also be an executive producer of the new show.  Osbourne is the wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, has been a talent judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.  Remini played Carrie Heffernan, foil to husband Doug on CBS’s THE KING OF QUEENS. Peete got her major break on the then-fledgling Fox Network’s crime series 21 Jump Street, and starred in Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper and Love, Inc. Winokur was host of a dancing competition show on NBC.

Chen will leave her regular duties on CBS’s THE EARLY SHOW, but will may continue to contribute to the show, according to the network.

AS THE WORLD TURNS leaves the air in September after 54 years on the air.  We’ll have more on the show as more information comes in.

CBS News Examines Your Future

How ready is America to face the challeneges of the future?

That’s the question CBS News will answer starting this week along with USA TODAY in a special series called “Where America Stands.” The series of CBS REPORTS will focus on problems like major social issues, health care, jobs and national security.

The two journalism giants previously teamed up for the successful and critically acclaimed 2009 “CBS REPORTS: Children of the Recession.”

Here’s a quick look at some of the stories planned as part of this first week of reports:

  • CBS NEWS POLL: Results from a CBS News poll of Americans’ views and attitudes on how the United States is faring on major societal issues will be released.
  • KATIE COURIC: Cancer research, treatment and care – Who are the leaders and what is on the horizon? How far have we really come in the War on Cancer?
  • ANTHONY MASON: Where is the next generation of jobs going to come from? How do we recover from 10%+ unemployment?
  • LARA LOGAN: Where are the next terrorists training and coming from? How prepared are we to deal with terrorism since 9/11?
  • SETH DOANE: The “leaning” of America – How are we going to fight obesity? How do we “lean” our population and especially our children?

Future stories will focus on Aging, Crime and Punishment, Education, Environment, Family, Finances, Global Competitiveness, Healthcare, Housing, Immigration, Infrastructure, International Politics and Diplomacy, Manufacturing and Trade, Medical Challenges and Advances, National Debt, Religion and Spirituality, Security and Defense, Technology, and many more.

The reports will appear across several different CBS News programs, including CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC, FACE THE NATION, SUNDAY MORNING, THE EARLY SHOW, the Saturday edition of THE EARLY SHOW, CBS EVENING NEWS Weekend Editions, CBS RADIO NEWS and CBSNews.com.

Additional stories will appear in USA TODAY and other Gannett newspapers across the nation.

Watch for the premiere installment during Tuesday night’s CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC.

Performer Drops Out of Concert Kickoff

Musical performer Akon suddenly canceled a scheduled appearance on Friday’s THE EARLY SHOW for personal reasons, Early_Showaccording to a statement:

“With news of the passing of Gabon President Omar Bongo, a close mentor and friend of Akon and his family, Akon will depart for Africa in order to pay his respect and take part in a remembrance ceremony on Friday, June 12.

“While Akon will not be in attendance, he encourages his fans to check out Lionel Richie’s incredible performance live from the deck of the USS Intrepid as THE EARLY SHOW launches its summer concert series.”

Richie will perform Friday morning. THE EARLY SHOW airs weekdays at 7:00am on LIVE 5 WCSC, immediately following LIVE 5 NEWS THIS MORNING.

Early Show: Music On Deck

Early_ShowThis Friday morning, THE EARLY SHOW will kick off its Summer Concert Series aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid with R&B superstars Lionel Richie and Akon.

In addition to the music on the deck, the entire program will be broadcast from the iconic World War II warship on and all other concert days this summer. 

THE EARLY SHOW airs on Live 5 WCSC weekdays from 7:00-9:00am, immediately following LIVE 5 NEWS THIS MORNING.