Couric To Revamp Newscast

Katie Couric, who takes the anchor chair at CBS Evening News Sept. 5, says she wants to create a newscast that is “less formulaic” than network newscasts past.

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, she says, may forgo some news of the day to give viewers more in-depth reports on a few stories. For instance, she said, in addition to reporting news on fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, a CBS News correspondent could provide a detailed piece on the particulars of the Israeli military. “We can give people a deeper understanding,” Couric said Monday at a small meeting with reporters at CBS News’ Manhattan headquarters.

While she admitted her ratings will be the most visible measurement of her success, “I’ve never put a huge priority on that,” Couric said. Instead, she says she is focused intently on producing a strong newscast. “I hope quality will beget quantity,” she added.

Since Couric signed off from NBC’s Today in May, she has been transitioning into her new role as Evening News anchor and 60 Minutes contributor. Couric says she has been busy conducting interviews for several 60 Minutes reports, including one tied to the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11. The network has also slated her first prime time special, to air on Sept. 6, which is also part of 9/11 coverage.

As for her much-discussed wardrobe, Couric says she will dress “professionally and appropriately”, but declined to discuss any specifics about clothing. The evening news, she said, does not allow for the same latitude in dressing – both colors and styles – as her previous job on Today.

What Couric hasn’t had an opportunity to do yet is sit behind the Evening News anchor desk. CBS is building a new set for her and Couric said it should be ready for a dry-run on Aug. 18.