Katie Couric Said to Weigh Move to ABC or NBC as CBS Anchor Job Winds Down

Katie Couric is contemplating a move to ABC as she prepares to end her five-year run as the “CBS Evening News” anchor, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Couric, 54, is expected to announce this week that she will leave the show and hasn’t made a final decision about her future, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Her contract with CBS ends June 4.

Both NBC and ABC are said to be discussing talk shows with Couric that would start in 2012, according to one executive with knowledge of the talks. ABC, part of Walt Disney Co. (DIS), has made a late run at Couric, said two of the people. The anchor and ABC News President Ben Sherwood met at least once for lunch to discuss the move, one person said.

Scott Pelley, a correspondent on “60 Minutes,” will take over for Couric as CBS anchor, one of the people said. Prior to joining “60 Minutes,” he was CBS News’ chief White House correspondent.

Couric is being advised by Jeff Zucker, former chief executive officer of NBC Universal and previously her producer at NBC’s “Today” show.

Neither ABC nor NBC would offer her the evening anchor position, one of the people said. She would likely work on specials, including the upcoming presidential elections.

David Ford, an ABC spokesman, declined to comment. Zucker didn’t respond to e-mails. Lauren Kapp, a spokeswoman for NBC, declined to comment.

The New York Times reported today that CBS would announce Couric’s departure this week. The newspaper said on April 5 that NBC had offered her a syndicated talk show.

‘60 Minutes’

CBS could still strike a deal to keep Couric in a role other than news anchor, said two people with knowledge of the situation. That may include reporting for “60 Minutes” and anchoring a syndicated talk show, according to one person familiar with the matter. CBS executives are interviewing candidates to be the executive producer of Pelley’s newscast, one person said.

Couric, the former “Today” show host, receives $13 million to $15 million a year under a five-year deal with CBS that started in 2006, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Ratings at “CBS Evening News” have declined during Couric’s tenure.

“NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” averaged 8.8 million viewers per day over the past five weeks, according to Nielsen Co. data provided by Brad Adgate, director of research at Horizon Media Inc. in New York. ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” averaged 7.9 million. Couric’s “Evening News” averaged 5.6 million.

CBS fell 11 cents to $24.69 at 4:04 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 30 percent this year. Disney fell 34 cents to $41.93 and have climbed 12 percent this year.

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), which controls NBC, fell 5 cents to $25.29 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at rgrover5@bloomberg.net; Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net; Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net.

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