Katie Couric's tenure as the anchor of The CBS Evening News is once again in question. If she goes, will it because the sexagenarians who watch network news don't believe a lady can have gravitas?
Well, sort of. But it's more complicated than that.
Speculation about Couric's future has been a media parlor game since practically the day her move from traditional girlzone Today to be the first woman in the anchor's chair. There was the $15 million salary, the sniping about ratings, the obsession with her younger boyfriend, her own calling out of sexism.
Now, New York quotes sources saying that she may be bought out of her contract at CBS before it ends next June, maybe to go back to NBC. According to Gabriel Sherman,
A leading internal candidate to replace Couric is 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, a highly respected correspondent but one with a fairly traditional skill set, suggesting that Moonves has given up on reinventing the news.
Some of the criticism of Couric really has been sexist. But then again, now that we have Diane Sawyer to compare her to and Sawyer's doing pretty well, it's not so simple as to say either press coverage or audience bias have contributed to Couric's lack of success in the job. Maybe this was never a good idea — not because Couric can't cut it in the anchor's chair, necessarily, but because this particular archaic and rigid form hasn't quite taken off. And in a media context where network news means less and less, is that really such a big deal?
In any case, the nice thing about her having been the first, and there also having been a second woman in this historically significant, big-platform post, is that this doesn't have to mean it didn't work out because a girl couldn't do a man's job.