How Katie Couric Really Feels About Her Time At CBS

Katie Couric was synonymous with NBC News and the Today show for many years, which is why when fans saw her move over to CBS, it may have felt a bit, well, odd. The longtime newswoman joined the NBC family back in 1986 and went on to brighten our mornings via her stint on Today in 1990 (via Britannica). Every morning for 15 years, Couric greeted us on the morning show (via Today).

We watched her become a mom to two daughters, Ellie and Carrie, and also lose her husband Jay Monahan to colon cancer (via People). In fact, as she said about the time when he was sick, "Working was my salvation. If I was doing a cooking segment, I couldn't be thinking about, you know, Jay's latest scan. It helped me maintain my sanity." Twelve years after Monahan's passing in 2000, the friendly co-host would undergo a colon cancer screening test live on the show (via Prevention).

In 2006, Couric said goodbye to NBC and moved over to rival network CBS. The transition was less than smooth.

Katie Couric was ready to leave Today

Katie Couric would become the first solo nighttime news anchor at CBS in September of 2006. Incidentally, Barbara Walters co-anchored the ABC Evening News from 1976 until 1978 according to History. The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric debuted right after Dan Rather left the position in disgrace. So, it must be said that the former daytime host hardly stepped in front of the cameras under the best of circumstances. Remember, Rather was fired after the accuracy of his report about former President George W. Bush's military service was called into question (via EW).

Enter Couric, who revealed in her memoir "Going There" that by 2005, she was "getting restless" at Today (via Page Six). "I longed to be respected for my journalistic chops, and although I'd done many serious interviews in the morning, the fun stuff, which I had a blast doing — like flying across the plaza dressed as Peter Pan while flinging phosphorescent confetti, fulfilling my dream of being a backup singer for Darlene Love, hurling myself onto a Velcro wall — was what people remembered," she wrote, adding the show seemed to be losing its edge.

And so, Couric started her gig as a nighttime anchor on CBS. Just years later, everything fell apart.

Ratings began to slide once Katie Couric joined the CBS Evening News

With a $15 million per year contract under her belt, Katie Couric started out strong in her new role at CBS (via But soon enough, her evening broadcast fell into second place — and then third place, behind NBC and ABC. Ratings for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric may have felt downright embarrassing by 2009, with the former Today darling netting under 5 million viewers according to The Atlantic.

By 2011, the star was done with the whole thing, and announced she was leaving the network. A spokesperson made a tepid statement about their parting of ways, saying, "There's a lot to be proud of during Katie Couric's time at evening news. CBS News, like Katie herself, is looking forward to the next chapter."

It would be many years before we knew how the newswoman truly felt about her five years coming into our homes every night on CBS. But let's just say that even right away, Couric admitted the career change wasn't what she thought it would be.

At first Katie Couric took responsibility for the failure at CBS

When the news that she was leaving the CBS nightly newscast first broke, Katie Couric admitted to the Daily Beast that attempting to layer in her experience interviewing entertainers may not have been the best strategy. "The notion of radical change for an evening newscast, that idea was probably exciting but less doable than I anticipated, given the fragmentation of the audience and the time of the show and the demographics of the audience," she confessed.

But eventually, the former Today host would reflect about the show's failure with her at the helm in her book, "Going There." Her thoughts on the situation were controversial to say the least, with Couric in some ways blaming viewers for the fact that the evening news' ratings plummeted during her tenure.

That she went back to Today to talk about her time at CBS could have been considered by some to be salt in the wound.

Later, Katie Couric blamed viewers for the failure

In 2021, a decade after she signed off for the final time over at CBS, Katie Couric discussed her experience on the very morning show that made her a household name, while promoting her new tell-all (via Today).

The first thing the former anchor did was reflect positively on her experience on NBC, even though years earlier, she noted it was very much time to move on to more serious endeavors.

"Because I enjoyed such a great position at the Today show, I thought America was really ready for a female anchor of the evening news," Couric said, adding, "and I think we were just not as far along as I naively thought."

She went on to say that viewers' perceptions of her, with a Today co-host being her most famous role, was likely also partially responsible. She ended with a message of hope, saying, "But I really went there to say a woman can do this job with confidence and competence, and that's really what motivated my decision."

Talking to People, Couric also confessed when asked if she would make the same decision to hitch her wagon to the CBS Evening News, "If I knew then what I know now, probably not."

60 Minutes was particularly disastrous for Katie Couric

In the end, Katie Couric had her say about why she felt her CBS gig failed. But folks who worked at the network have their own opinions. Notably, 60 Minutes producer Ira Rosen dished on the anchor working over on that program, which was part of her contract. In this book, "Ticking Close: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes," the former producer called out Couric for blaming others for her own failures, and even called her "lazy" (via CheatSheet).

He went even further, writing in his shocking tell-all about the once-loved morning show host, she "thought she was smarter than all of us who worked on the show. She wasn't."

It was also widely reported that Couric didn't get along with 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager, with at least one source claiming the two "hated each other" (via TikTok). 

Needless to say, clearly things didn't go as expected on CBS — at least that, both parties can agree on!