Anne "Katie" Couric (born January 7, 1957) is an American
journalist who became well-known as co-host of NBC's Today. In 2006,
she made a highly publicized move from NBC to CBS, and on September
5, 2006 she became the first solo female anchor of the weekday evening
news on one of the three traditional U.S. broadcast networks. She
currently serves as the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening
News, having replaced Bob Schieffer on September 5, 2006. Schieffer
served as the interim anchor following the departure of long time
anchor and managing editor Dan Rather on March 9, 2005.
"Kate" Couric was born in Arlington, Virginia,
the daughter of Elinor (née Hene), a homemaker and part-time
writer, and John Martin Couric Jr., a public relations executive
and news editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the United
Press in Washington, D.C. Couric was raised Presbyterian,
though her mother was Jewish. Couric's maternal grandparents,
Berthold B. Hene and Clara L. Froshin, were the children of Jewish
immigrants from Germany. In a report for Today, she traced her
paternal ancestry back to a French orphan who emigrated to the U.S.
in the nineteenth century and became a broker in the cotton business.
Couric attended Arlington, Virginia public schools:
Jamestown Elementary, Williamsburg Junior High, and Yorktown
High School, in Arlington Virginia.
She enrolled at the University of Virginia in 1975,
majored in English and History, and was a Delta Delta Delta sorority
sister. Couric served in several positions at UVA's award-winning
daily newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. During her third year at UVA,
Couric was chosen to live as Head Resident of The Lawn, the heart
of Thomas Jefferson's academical village. She graduated in 1979
with a degree in American Studies.
Couric's reporting career began when she was hired
by Stan Hooper as a desk assistant for the ABC News bureau in Washington,
D.C., later joining CNN as an assignment editor. Between 1984 and
1986, she worked as a general-assignment reporter for WTVJ in Miami,
Florida. During the following two years, she reported for WRC-TV,
an NBC station in Washington, D.C., work which earned her an Associated
Press award and an Emmy. Couric joined NBC News in 1989 as Deputy
Pentagon Correspondent. From 1989 to 1991, Couric was an anchor
substitute and filled in for Bryant Gumbel as host of Today, Jane
Pauley, and Deborah Norville as co-anchor of Today, Garrick Utley,
Mary Alice Williams, and Maria Shriver as co-host of Sunday Today,
John Palmer, Norville, and Faith Daniels as anchor of the former
NBC News program NBC News at Sunrise. She also subbed for Daniels,
Norville, and John Palmer as the news anchor on Today'.
Today (1991- 2006)
In 1990, Couric joined Today as national political
correspondent, becoming a substitute co-host in February 1991 when
Norville had a baby. Norville did not return and Couric became permanent
co-anchor on Thursday, April 5, 1991. In 1992, she became co-anchor,
of "NBC Now" an evening time weekly TV newsmagazine with
Tom Brokaw, which was later canceled and folded into part of Dateline
NBC, where her reports appeared regularly and she was named contributing
anchor. She remained at Today and NBC News until May 31, 2006, when
she announced that she would be going to CBS to anchor the CBS Evening
News, becoming the first solo female anchor of the "big three"
weekday nightly news broadcasts.
Katie Couric has filled in for Tom Brokaw on NBC
Nightly News. Couric has also filled in for Garrick Utley on the
Sunday Edition of NBC Nightly News from 1989 to 1992, and also for
Maria Shriver on the Saturday Edition of NBC Nightly News in 1989.
Couric hosted or worked on a number of news specials,
like Everybody's Business: America's Children in 1995. Similar entertainment
specials were Legend to Legend Night: A Celebrity Cavalcade in 1993,
and Harry Potter: Behind the Magic in 2001. Couric has also co-hosted
the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. She has broadcast with
Bob Costas, beginning with the 2000 Summer Olympics. She did not
co-host the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Turin, Italy
because of a scheduling conflict with a live taping of Today Show.
Brian Williams co-hosted with Bob Costas instead.
Couric has interviewed many international political
figures and celebrities during her career, including Presidents
Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and
George W. Bush, and First Lady Barbara Bush. John F. Kennedy Jr.
gave Couric his first and last interviews. Couric has won multiple
television reporting awards through her career, including the prestigious
Peabody Award for her series Confronting Colon Cancer. Couric has
also interviewed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Senator
Hillary Clinton (her first television interview), Harry Potter author
J.K. Rowling, and Laura Bush.
On May 28, 2008, Couric made a return visit to Today
since leaving almost two years to the very day back on May 31, 2006.
She made this appearance alongside her evening counterparts, NBC
Nightly News’ Brian Williams & ABC World News’ Charles Gibson,
to promote an organization called Stand Up To Cancer and raise cancer
awareness on all three major television networks; ABC, CBS &
NBC. Couric, Gibson and Williams made appearances together on all
three major network morning shows, first on CBS’s Early Show, then
on NBC’s Today and finally on ABC’s Good Morning America.
CBS Evening News (2006-)
Couric announced on April 5, 2006 (her 15th anniversary
as permanent co-host of Today), that she would be leaving the show,
despite a 20 million dollar a year salary offer. “I wanted to tell
all of you out there … that after listening to my heart and my gut,
two things that have served me pretty well in the past, I've decided
I'll be leaving Today at the end of May." she said. “I really
feel as if we’ve become friends through the years”. Couric appeared
emotional at times as she made the announcement on Today. “Sometimes
I think change is a good thing,” she said. “Although it may be terrifying
to get out of your comfort zone, it’s very exciting to start a new
chapter in your life".
CBS officially confirmed later the same day that
Couric would become the new anchor and managing editor of the CBS
Evening News with Katie Couric with her first broadcast set for
September 5, 2006. Couric would also contribute to 60 Minutes and
anchor prime time news specials for CBS. Couric would remain the
highest-paid news anchor at $15 million per year.
Many criticized the move by CBS to promote Couric
to the broadcast chair. The criticism centered on Couric's lack
of experience in hard journalism and credentials necessary to be
a sole anchor of the CBS Evening News, when compared to previous
anchors such as Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite, who was named in
multiple viewer polls "The Most Trusted Man in America".
Beginning in 2005 and through 2006, the Today program faced increasing
competition from Good Morning America, which became more popular
when Robin Roberts joined Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer as co-hosts.
Thus, Couric had a choice to either continue as host of the Today
show or take the risk and go on the CBS Evening News where she gambled
that she would be successful.
On July 20, 2006, Access Hollywood (an NBC Universal
program) reported that Katie intended to avoid certain anchoring
situations that previous anchors have taken on. When asked about
traveling to the Middle East, Katie was quoted as stating, "I
think the situation there is so dangerous, and as a single parent
with two children, that's something I won't be doing". Access
Hollywood later corrected this report, saying it was misleading
and was based on a statement made by Couric after CBS correspondent
Kimberly Dozier was injured in Iraq in May while Katie Couric was
still co-hosting at Today.
Couric made her first broadcast as anchor and managing editor of
the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric on Tuesday, September 5,
2006. The program featured a new set, new graphics, and a new theme
(composed by prolific movie score composer James Horner, and
featuring a voice over from Walter Cronkite). It was the first evening
newscast to be simulcast live on the Internet and local radio stations.
Critics gave mixed reactions about the first broadcast, which drew
around 13.6 million viewers, the highest ratings for the CBS Evening
News since February 1998 and double the usual number of viewers.
On September 19, 2006 the program placed first in weekly ratings.
However, Couric's second week as anchor pulled in a close margin
between rival NBC Nightly News with CBS's 7.9 million viewers compared
to NBC's 7.3 million viewers for the week of September 11 – September
15, 2006. (Couric fell to third place on September 11, 2006 for
that particular day with NBC, and ABC respectively taking first
and second place, yet CBS remained at first place for the remainder
of week.) By October 6, Couric had slipped to third place for
the second week in a row, trailing ABC News by more than a million
viewers. The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric continually
finishes last in all major markets.
News executives, along with those close to Katie, have stated that
it is "very likely" that Couric will vacate the anchor
chair as early as January 2009 — two years before her contract expires,
according to the Wall Street Journal. 
has been criticized for blurring the lines between entertainment
and reporting. Couric's choice of short skirts while hosting the
Today show has led to her legs being one of the most widely identified
aspects of her on-screen persona as well as the subject of many
commentaries and Web sites. On May 12, 2003, Couric guest hosted
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and garnered 45% more viewers than
on normal nights. CNN and the New York Daily News noted that instead
of using Leno's regular solid desk, "workers cut away the front
of her desk to expose her legs while she interviewed American Idol
judge Simon Cowell and Austin Powers star Mike Myers". Also
appearing on that special show were Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland
and Dr. Phil.
a media crossover to animated film, she was the voice of news-reporter
"Katie Current" in the U.S. version of the film Shark
Tale. She also made a cameo appearance as a prison guard at Georgia
State Prison in Austin Powers in Goldmember. She guest-starred as
herself on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace in late 2002. On May
12, 2003, she traded places for a day with Tonight Show host Jay
Leno. Couric also co-hosted NBC's live coverage of Macy's Thanksgiving
Day Parade from 1991 until 2005.
married Jay Monahan in 1989. Couric had her first daughter, Elinor
Tully "Ellie" Monahan, on July 23, 1991; her second daughter,
Caroline Couric Monahan, was born on January 5, 1996. Jay Monahan
died of colon cancer in 1998 at the age of 42; as a result, Couric
is a prominent spokeswoman for colon cancer awareness. She underwent
a colonoscopy on-air in March 2000, and, according to a study
published by Archives of Internal Medicine (July 14, 2003), inspired
many others to get checked as well:
Couric's televised colon cancer awareness campaign was temporarily
associated with an increase in colonoscopy use in 2 different data
sets. This illustrates the possibility that a well-known individual
can draw attention and support to worthwhile causes.
also was very active in the National Hockey League's Hockey Fights
Cancer campaign, appearing in some public service announcements
and doing voice-overs for several others. Couric is currently a
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the United States.
October 7, 2005, Couric broadcast her own mammogram on the Today
show, in the hopes of recreating the "Couric Effect" around
the issue of breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness
sister Emily Couric, a Virginia Democratic state senator, died of
pancreatic cancer at the age of 54 on October 18, 2001. Couric gave
a eulogy at the funeral. She pointed out that it irritated Emily
when people asked her if she was Katie Couric's sister. Katie told
the mourners "I just want you to know I will always be proud
to say 'I am Emily Couric's sister." Couric has two other siblings,
Clara Couric Batchelor and John M. Couric Jr.
was the honored guest at the 2004 Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
news, such as People, reported that Couric dated smooth jazz
trumpeter Chris Botti, but they reportedly broke up in February
2005. She was previously and has intermittently been linked with
multi-millionaire TV producer Tom Werner, whose home base of California
has reportedly proved problematic for the New York-based Couric.
In 2007, Couric began dating 33-year-old entrepreneur (and triathlon
competitor) Brooks Perlin.
April 2007, one of "Katie Couric's Notebook" columns on
the CBS News website, a piece about the declining use of libraries,
was shown to bear striking resemblances to an article by Wall Street
Journal author Jeffrey Zaslow, "Of the Places You'll Go, Is
the Library Still One of Them?". In the ensuing controversy,
it was revealed that Couric does not generally write these columns,
although they often include first-person recounting of supposed
events. On April 12, 2007, CBS admitted that her most recent column
was indeed plagiarized from a Zaslow article without her knowledge,
and that the unidentified producer who provided the material had
been fired. Couric continues to maintain that she wrote the article.
The article has since been removed.
in April 2007, in a "Katie Couric's Notebook" titled "Is
America ready for a President who grew up praying in a mosque?",
Couric's video cited a Los Angeles Times article which reported
that according to childhood acquaintance Zulfan Adi, Obama had "prayed
in the mosque." The video was later taken down from
CBS's website and the transcript amended with "In a later Chicago
Tribune article, however, the source [Adi] said he was not certain
whether they prayed together." In doing this Couric or
her staff replaced a controversial statement for which there was
some evidence (the Tribune article reports "Obama occasionally
followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers, a few
neighbors said.") with an error (the Tribune article says
merely "Zulfan Adi, a former neighborhood playmate of Obama's
who has been cited in news reports as saying Obama regularly attended
Friday prayers with Soetoro, told the Tribune he was not certain
about that..." which doesn't actually contradict what he had