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In a new interview with the New York Times, Katie Couric admits she has been discussing a syndicated talk show with former boss Jeff Zucker, as The Hollywood Reporter reported last month.
“We talk a lot and, yes, we’ve been discussing the possibilities. That’s true,” Couric said Monday, the same day more reports surfaced that she will not renew her contract with CBS Evening News once it expires in June.
When asked what the syndicated show would be known for, Couric says, “Hopefully for smart conversation.”
Couric says she doesn’t “wholeheartedly” agree with David Letterman‘s assertion that nightly news anchors should hold the position for their entire lives.
“I think maybe that could have been truer 10 or 20 years ago than it may be today,” she says. “Everyone who does this job appreciates the fact that it’s still an important venue, but it is a declining genre in some ways in terms of how people consume news.”
Couric defended her job as host of Evening News, which has been in third place behind Brian Williams and Diane Sawyer for most of the past five years.
“I believe we were in third place for 13 years before I got here, and I think habits, particularly with an evening news broadcast, move at a glacial pace. And I think that local news stations have something to do with it,” she tells the Times.
But she would have made some changes from the get go as well.
“In retrospect I would have given people what they were used to, a traditional newscast,” says Couric. “And then as they got to know me and got more comfortable, then I would’ve started toying with the format and trying new things. I think we were overly ambitious. We probably would have been better off playing it a little safer.”
Couric also weighed in on Charlie Sheen, who was recently fired by CBS and Warner Bros. from Two and a Half Men. She said if it were up to her, she would have fired him after he was arrested in 2009 for allegedly holding a knife to the throat of then-wife Brooke Mueller.
But Les Moonves “hasn’t really sought my advice on Charlie Sheen. I hope what Charlie Sheen did wouldn’t be consistent with the values of this network. That’s probably an unrealistic response, but that’s my initial gut reaction. Luckily, that’s not my job.”
When asked if she felt “less proud about going to work at CBS knowing that he was essentially a colleague,” Couric said, “I don’t really consider Charlie Sheen a colleague.”
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