The New York Post today brings two separate, but potentially related, Katie Couric stories: one on rumors of a possible Katie Couric memoir, another on the reason why Couric may be leaving CBS: a ratings free fall.
Keith Kelly writes that, on the heels of her moving account in this week's Newsweek about her husband's death, and of course the drama at CBS News, Couric would be "golden" in the publishing world:
Given the turmoil, and her moving first-person article in the current issue of Newsweek, speculation has been swirling in recent days that her next career move could be a memoir, which would likely fetch millions.
Couric hasn't yet penned a serious non-fiction tome, but she has expressed interest in writing a memoir, said one source close to her. The source, however, insists there are no specific plans right now.
She did write several well-received children's books for Doubleday a few years ago. She'd would have a lot of themes to work with - from the turmoil of being in the hot seat at a time of great media upheaval to the wrenching personal story of being a single mom with two young daughters.
Of course, a critical part of why Katie may be leaving CBS (and able to write this rumored memoir) is that the ratings of her broadcast are tanking. She reportedly lost 1.1 million viewers in 2007, and the Post's Michael Starr reports that the skid won't stop:
Katie Couric's well-documented doubts about staying much longer as "CBS Evening News" anchor are apparently tied to more bad ratings news.
The ratings slide that began when she started 19 months ago is getting worse.
Couric is down 10 percent year-to-date.
All three network newscasts are down - ABC's "World News" and NBC's "Nightly News" are both off by 1 percent this year.
But, as the advertising trade magazine Media Life reported yesterday, the ABC and NBC "declines represent the natural attrition of nightly news audiences. Couric's indicate a flight of viewers."
ETP's Rachel Sklar crunched the numbers last week, charting the decline:
The ratings have dropped under Couric, even while Brian Williams and Charlie Gibson are jockeying for position light-years in front of her, sometimes by as much as 3 million viewers more than her, each. Sure, she's been buoyed by the election but everyone has -- the fact remains that, as I pointed out last fall, this year's high-water mark numbers are last-year's nadirs (back in Feb. 2007, falling below 7 million was shocking. Now, breaking 7 million is the shocker -- something Couric's newscast did early on in primary season, but which was eroded over the next few months. Last week, her broadcast clocked 5.9 million viewers -- higher than her lowest-ever number of 5.46 million in the week of Sept. 3rd, but still not the kind of numbers CBS is used to, or needs).