Katie: 'It Must Have Been a Slow News Week'

Katie Couric | Macaulay Culkin | Connie Stevens

Katie: 'It Must Have Been a Slow News Week'

Katie Couric celebrated her career move — I'm sure you heard about it — with a quiet dinner for about 10 people last night at Nobu 57.

When I asked her how she felt now that the announcement had been made, she said: "Relieved. After that whole build up. I'm glad it's over."

Was she nervous about her new job? She shook her head. "Not at all."

And what about all the fuss leading up to the announcement? "It must have been a slow news week," she laughed.

Katie must be relieved. Her dinner didn't finish until almost 11 p.m. — late for someone who has to get up at 5 a.m. But those days are almost over.

I don't know how she did it — 15 years of early suppers and nearly no nightlife at all. It's not that after she takes over the "CBS Evening News" she'll be dancing on table tops, but it might be nice to eat like an adult once in a while, or go to the movies.

Couric's aware that the long knives will be out for her when she starts her new job this fall. We chatted about the fact that the morning after her first broadcast she will be dissected like a frog in a high school biology class. Don’t worry — she's ready for it. This sort of thing comes with the territory.

But mostly Katie said she was still thinking about the reactions of her daughters — first mentioned in yesterday's New York Times.

The eldest, Ellie, said she should absolutely move to CBS.

"I was surprised because she's always been very loyal to the 'Today' show," Katie said. "But she was tired of eating early. I said to her, 'We'll have to change our schedule and eat when I get home.' And she said, 'That’s OK. We can have snacks while we wait.'”

Her younger daughter said she was pleased because her mom would be the first woman to have the job all to herself. Connie Chung co-hosted with Dan Rather on CBS many years ago.

I did not ask Katie about all the crazy polls that have appeared in the last 48 hours about viewers' reactions to her job change. My advice: Don’t get caught up in any of it. People will debate CBS' and Couric's decisions all summer until the day she finally takes the anchor chair. In the end, though, Couric's going to do very well, I predict, bringing CBS News comfortably into the 21st century.

And no, even though she'll be on "60 Minutes" from time to time and even on other CBS News programs, Couric will not be deployed elsewhere on the network. As far as I know, she is not set to play herself on "The Guiding Light." That is, until they ask.

Macaulay: Did Not Want to Testify for Jacko

It’s been almost a year since Macaulay Culkin took the stand in Santa Maria, Calif., and came to the defense of his pal, Michael Jackson.

His testimony, coolly and sensibly delivered, helped save Jackson from being convicted of child molestation. It also set the record straight, from the horse's mouth, about their relationship. It was a brave thing for the 25-year-old former kid star to do.

"I didn’t want to testify," Culkin told me last night at Miramax Books' party for his sorta novel, "Junior," and five other new books. "I did everything I could not to. But in the end I had to."

I was there in the courtroom when he did it, and I can tell you, Culkin's hour on the witness stand was a thing of beauty. He was much more poised than the prosecutors. They had no comebacks for him that were effective.

"They didn’t know what they were doing," Culkin said. "But that family, they were shysters," he said, referring to the Arvizos.

None of the Jackson episode is included in “Junior,” but the book does address some autobiographical issues.

Critics seem divided on the book. Many of them have liked it a lot. Macaulay told me, “I expected the worst, so I’m happy about the enthusiasm.”

So what next? Back to acting? "It's a fragile business," he told me. "You try to put projects together and they fall apart. But it's just a matter of waiting for the right thing."

He has legions of fans, though. His reading at a New York Barnes & Noble brought them out in droves.

"You should have seen them," he said, trying to describe their outfits.

And forget about headlines that Mac was "frightened" at his book reading. He was actually delightful and very engaging. It's unbelievable, in fact, that he’s turned out so well after his rollercoaster ride of a childhood. I expect we'll be seeing big things from Culkin for years to come.

By the way, the other authors in the Hudson Hotel's Library bar, all celebrating Miramax Book releases: Karenna Gore Schiff (yes, Al Gore's daughter), former Page Six writer Ian Spiegelman, Kathy Freston (wife of Paramount chief Tom Freston), film critic Marshall Fine, and former gossip columnist, People writer and CNN contributor Mitchell Fink.

They’re each very different, and all good reads. I’ll tell you more about them next week.

But two of them — Freston's "The One: Finding Soul Mate Love and Making It Last" and Fine's terrific biography of John Cassavetes called "Accidental Genius" — are already in stores. Check them out.

Connie Stevens Casts Hawaiian Eye on NYC

Sighting: On West Broadway in SoHo yesterday, the legendary pop actress Connie Stevens was being photographed with her granddaughter by Stevens' daughter, "Desperate Housewives" actress Joely Fisher (half sister of Carrie, daughter of Eddie).

They all looked swell, and no one bothered them. Connie was a sensation on TV some 45 years ago playing Cricket Blake on "Hawaiian Eye" and "77 Sunset Strip." God love her!...

Because the talented Larry Brygmann and Julianna Margulies are in "Festen," a new play opening on Broadway this Sunday, I'm rooting for it. But advance word is so dismal that you can actually buy tickets to the show for opening night. That is not a good sign. And though we have a nostalgic affection for Ali MacGraw, Broadway would not seem the likely place for her talents. Add Jeremy Sisto from "Six Feet Under" and Michael Hayden, and who knows? I’d say, brace yourselves, and hope that "Festen" really does mean "celebration" and not "closing notice"...

Also Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., New York Times writer Bob Morris puts on his very funny one-man show "Assisted Loving," at the Daryl Roth Theater (Union Square East and 15th St.). Page Six has dubbed it "A senior Sex and the City." Don’t miss it…

Also, Sunday: a retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg prints at the Jim Kempner Art Gallery in Chelsea. The Kempner (no relation to the society family) is one of those special, hidden gems only very hip people know about. Once you’ve found it, you want to go back again and again

That was Emmy-winner Cynthia Watros, a graduate of "Guiding Light," falling for Hurley in that great episode of "Lost" on Wednesday night. Watros was one of the "Lost" actresses who got a DUI recently, but who cares? She's a terrific addition to the show, and more evidence that CBS should have more respect for their longest-running soap…