Couric says viewers weren't ready for her move


NEW YORK -- Katie Couric admits she sometimes wishes she hadn't made the move from NBC's "Today" to the "CBS Evening News."

"Of course," she said in an interview with New York magazine. "I'm human. I'm not going around 'dee-da dee-da dee.' I have days when I'm like, 'Oh my God, what did I do?' But for some weird reason, they don't happen that often."

Couric's move to anchor the CBS newscast has been a bust so far. Its ratings are deep in third place, and the network has rolled back some of the changes it made last fall to shake up the format.

Under new Executive Producer Rick Kaplan, the "CBS Evening News" is a more traditional hard-news evening newscast in the mold of its predecessors and competitors.

Had she known that would happen, she said, the job "would have been less appealing to me. It would have required a lot more thought."

"People are very unforgiving and very resistant to change," the 50-year-old Couric said. "The biggest mistake we made is we tried new things."

Kaplan, who said Monday he hadn't read New York's article, said he didn't take Couric's comments as an indication that she's not excited about the broadcast they are doing now.

"She understands there are all sorts of different ways where Katie can be Katie," he said. The comments have caused relatively little concern at CBS News; everybody understands there are good days and bad days at work, he said.

Couric told New York that "I've gone through a bit of a feeding frenzy and there's blood in the water and I've got some vulnerabilities. This person who's been successful isn't so great, and finally she's been put in her place -- that kind of mentality. I think it's fairly primal."

However, Couric said she's looking forward to doing more work for "60 Minutes" next season.

"If it turns out it wasn't a perfect fit (at the 'Evening News'), then, you know, I'll do something else that's really exciting and fulfilling for me."

There has been tension on the set of the evening newscast.

Couric said she slapped news editor Jerry Cipriano on the arm for using the word "sputum" during a tuberculosis story last month.

"I got mad at him and said, 'You can't do this to me. You have to tell me when you're going to use a word like that,"' Couric said. "I was aggravated, there's no question about that."

"I sort of slapped him around," she said.

Sputum, which refers to expectorated matter especially from the air passages in diseases of the lungs, bronchi or upper respiratory tract, was banned from future broadcasts.

But Couric said she has a good relationship with Cipriano.

"It became kind of a joke," she said.