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Couric Will Be on '60 Minutes' Right Away

Katie Couric | Rascal Flatts | Passover

Katie Will Be on '60 Minutes' Right Away

We all know by now that Katie Couric is going to anchor "The CBS Evening News." Even some of the inhabitants Saturn's blue ring have been e-mailing in about that.

But, as we first confirmed in this column before anyone, I think, Couric is also going to be doing pieces on "60 Minutes."

In fact, from what I'm told, Katie's smiling face will likely be seen on the first couple of new installments of "60 Minutes" in the fall. From then on, she will be a recognizable fixture on the show.

The word from TV's most venerated news magazine is that Couric will be part of a new generation overhaul now that Mike Wallace is retiring and Morley Safer is being given a sort of emeritus status.

When I asked a higher up at CBS News about Wallace, they replied of the soon to be 88-year-old's retirement: "It's time."

And of Safer, who will turn a relatively spry 74 in November: "He's not going to be doing that much either."

That leaves the heavy lifting to Ed Bradley, Lesley Stahl and Steve Kroft, who are now the show's veterans. Add to that list semi-regulars Bob Simon and Scott Pelley, whom I think executive producer Jeff Fager would like to see fill the empty slots more and more.

If she plays her cards right, Katie Couric could, within a short time, be the one at the end of the opening credits who says, "All this and Andy Rooney."

That is, if Andy Rooney is still there. The crotchety essayist is only a year younger than Wallace at 87.

In the meantime, here's another interesting tidbit: It does appear that Meredith Vieira was going to leave "The View" one way or another by the time the fall season started.

Insiders tell me that Vieira had been having talks with "60 Minutes" about returning to that show separate and apart from Couric's plans. The word is that executive producer Fager had wanted Vieira and had spoken with her about it, but in the end, she chose the "Today" show.

Either way, it seems that she was done with having to sit next to Star Jones and the blond girl and was ready to return to hard news. Why did she choose "Today?"

"$10 million," said my source. "That's a pretty good reason."

Rascal Flatts Are a Hit

When contemporary country group Rascal Flatts put out its last album in 2004, the CD sold 201,000 copies in its first week.

Last week, the follow up "Me and My Gang," did an amazing 714,000 copies, finishing ‘natch at No. 1, and pulled the preceding album along for another 30,000 copies.

Darrell Hammond mentioned them in his very funny Dan Rather piece on "SNL" last weekend — the only truly outstanding moment on a typically dull show.

Thank goodness for Rascal Flatts if they got anyone into a record store. And here's the really wild thing: they're on the Lyric Street imprint of Disney's Hollywood Records.

Disney has never been what you call "hot" in the music department. With the exception of Hilary Duff and the Queen catalogue, Disney's last big hit was Fastball (whatever happened to them?)

Next week, Hollywood releases what could be a big rock hit with Elefant. Maybe it's the beginning of a new era.

There are ironies abounding here, of course. Hollywood's new success comes just as its former president, Bob Pfeiffer, is out on $1 million bail after pleading guilty in Los Angeles in connection with the Anthony Pellicano case.

Back in 1995, during his three-year tenure as president of the label, Pfeiffer had been sued for sexual harassment by one of his employees.

According to the government's indictment of Pellicano last February, the woman in question was illegally wiretapped and spied on by the private detective. Pellicano was allegedly working for Pfeiffer.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Pfeiffer's ex-wife had turned over an e-mail he had sent her in January referring to the Pellicano investigation.

"Hypothetically, I am assuming I will not have the money to fight this if it escalates; I am not going to jail. You see me. I wouldn't last a night," he wrote. "I have two alternatives then to run or commit suicide... "

The date of the e-mail is not clear from the documents.

Last Friday, Pfeifer admitted he paid Pellicano $125,000 to snoop on Erin Finn in 2000 because she had given a negative deposition in a case involving Pfeifer's ex-employer. He faces between one and five years in prison.

The situation sounds a lot like the one I outlined a few weeks ago here when, directly after movie producer Brad Grey gave a difficult deposition, several members of the opposing side in a lawsuit were all wiretapped or illegally investigated by Pellicano.

Grey, now the head of Paramount Pictures, adamantly insists he did nothing wrong and never told Pellicano to do anything illegal. But the person who was wiretapped and snooped on — movie producer Bo Zenga — has recently sued Grey among others.

We're Off Tomorrow

Katie Holmes has Jessica Rodriguez making sure she's in step with her religion. I have my father, who is hiding the matzoh for our Seder even as we speak. We're off tomorrow for Passover, which begins tonight and doesn't cost a thing.

No one at our table will even be wearing red string bracelets, although some of the women may be discreetly sporting items from Tiffany while we ponder why this night is different from all others (the answer has nothing to do with a new episode of "Lost," however).

See you Friday.