Monday, March 1, 2010

CBS Eyeing Anderson Cooper for Katie Couric's Job?

In mid-2011, Katie Couric's five-year contract at CBS News will expire, and network executives appear to be exploring a "Plan B" if she departs after her oft-rocky tenure in the anchor's chair. According to the New York Times, that backup plan could very well be CNN host Anderson Cooper, who reportedly met with CBS execs months ago about anchor opportunities at the network.

The Times got the information from a pair of "TV veterans informed of the meeting."

Whether Cooper's meeting with CBS execs means he is being courted for Couric's job is unclear; he was previously pursued to host the network's 'Early Show,' which has struggled in the ratings. A switch to CBS full-time would be an easy one for Cooper, who is a regular contributor to '60 Minutes.'

Cooper joined CNN in 2001 and has hosted his own show, 'Anderson Cooper 360,' since 2003. He specializes in covering tragedies, including Hurricane Katrina and the recent the earthquake in Haiti.

'360' has not exactly been a ratings boon for CNN and generally ranks third in the 10 PM hour behind FOX's Greta Van Susterein and HLN's Nancy Grace. Often, repeats of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann will edge Cooper out as well. His focus on delivering the news -- and not opinion -- has been cited by industry analysts for his viewership.

Couric's ratings have not changed much either, and she currently ranks behind NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Diane Sawyer in the evening news race. As we noted in an earlier piece, CBS may be looking to bring down costs in the newsroom due to the economic downturn.

Couric reportedly makes $15 million a year. --hey girl, hey

NBC's Brian Williams -- who almost permanently holds the top spot among the nightly network news broadcasts -- makes $10 million a year and pulls in, on average, over 3 million more viewers, averaging around 10 million viewers to Couric's 6.5-7 million.

Reps from CBS and CNN had no comment when asked by the Times, but it is not uncommon for TV stars to take meetings with other networks in the run-up to contract negotiations.