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.

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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.