Katie Couric officially announced her departure from Evening News in People on Tuesday afternoon.
Now the talk about her future begins in earnest.
Both CBS and ABC want the services of the star but they are trying to distance themselves from her in the press.
As the frontrunner, CBS does not want to look foolish if they lose out on their current anchor, while ABC is hoping to avoid raising expectations.
In addition to saying ABC was going to win, CBS issued a backhanded compliment following after Couric’s announcement. Mark Knoller, CBS News’ White House correspondent, tweeted: “The statement further says that ‘CBS News, like Katie herself, is looking forward to the next chapter.'”
As for ABC, someone familiar with the network told The Wire “Everybody thinks this is a real long-shot.”
So: CBS is telling TVGuide that ABC is going to win the bidding, and a source at ABC is saying that CBS will probably win Couric’s services.
But what is Couric thinking?
According to a source familiar with her side of the negotiations, she has excellent offers from both networks that include a syndication show — Couric’s priority — as well as a continued presence in the news department.
“[The choice is] primarily about ensuring the highest level of success for the syndication show and providing her with the right platform for the news, especially in the next 15 months,” the insider said.
The money is a moot point, because she will make far more on any successful syndication show than she will as an evening news anchor. Election Night coverage is as well, since she will be immersed in the syndicated show as early as September 2012.
Wherever she ends up, the anchor will not announce her future for at least another two weeks, according to one source. Another said they did not expect a decision until June.
“There is going to be a lot of speculation but no decision made in May,” a television insider told The Wire on Tuesday afternoon.