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CBS Testing Katie Couric In Primetime

CBS announced a pair of primetime specials featuring CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric. The network will broadcast a special 8 p.m. edition of the CBS Evening News Wednesday, January 28 and Katie Couric: ‘All Access' Grammy Special, February 4 at 9 p.m.

By airing a special edition of the CBS Evening News in primetime, the network is hoping to attract new viewers who may not otherwise be able to see the broadcast during its normal 6:30 slot.

"This is a unique opportunity to showcase the CBS Evening News and give viewers who might not be able to sample the broadcast the chance to see the outstanding work being done by Katie and the CBS News team," said Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports, announcing the move.

The special edition could also be considered a test run for broadcast networks facing economic uncertainty and seeking ways to cut costs. NBC will hand over its 10 p.m. Monday-Friday slot to Jay Leno later this year, a move that is expected to save the network millions. Forgoing even one night of scripted fare for news programming would also likely be an effective way to cut costs.

NBC's lackluster entertainment lineup has been a boon for Dateline, which has been pinch-hitting with regular installments.

The Grammy special, while less hard-news focused, will still give viewers a chance to see Couric in action as she interviews top artists such as Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

Couric is pre-empting The New Adventures of Old Christine next Wednesday and Criminal Minds on Feb. 4. The primetime CBS Evening News will be up against Fox juggernaut American Idol.

With Marisa Guthrie