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In light of Katie Couric’s announcement Tuesday that she is leaving her post as anchor of the CBS Evening News after five years, THR looks back at five ways she switched up the evening news:
1. She sets a ratings records during her debut.
Her September 5, 2006, premiere is watched by an estimated 13.6 million viewers – the largest audience for the CBS Evening News in more than eight years. On her first night as anchor, Couric (who reportedly signed a $15 mil-a-year deal) covers everything from the war in Afghanistan to the unveiling of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ daughter, Suri, on the cover of Vanity Fair.
2. She grills Sarah Palin – and wins raves.
In a series of interviews with the 2008 U.S. Republican vice presidential nominee, she asks hard-hitting questions, including why Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives Palin foreign policy experience. When she asks Palin what newspapers and magazines she reads regularly, an uncomfortable Palin replies: “Um, all of them, any of them.” The interviews are cited by many as the cause of a turning of the tide of public opinion against Palin.
3. She is the first female evening news anchor in the United States.
On Dec. 21, 2009, she is joined by Diane Sawyer, who succeeded the retiring Charles Gibson for ABC World News.
4. She stands her ground in the newsroom.
She confirms a New York magazine story that she scolded news editor Jerry Cipriano after he used “sputum,” a word she hates, in a story about tuberculosis. “I sort of slapped him around,” Couric admits. “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.’ I was aggravated, there’s no question about that.” (The two later made up and the “slapping” incident became an on-set joke.)
5. She makes it out of Egypt.
During a tense trip to Cairo, she was mobbed by Mubarak supporters as she tried to conduct an interview near Tahrir Square. “It is pretty scary and unruly out there, but we’re being very cautious,” she Tweeted a short time later.
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