CBS News may be ready to part ways with "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
CBS executives and people close to Couric say she could leave the network after the presidential inauguration in January, well before her contract expires in 2011, the Journal reports.
Ratings for the "CBS Evening News" trail rival newscasts on ABC and NBC by wide margins, despite the fanfare that accompanied Couric’s arrival to the network in June 2006, the Journal reports.
Couric is paid an annual salary of around $15 million; CBS executives are under pressure to cut costs and improve ratings for the broadcast.
After her success as co-host of NBC's "Today" morning show, Couric took the helm of the "CBS Evening News" following the departure of longtime CBS anchor Dan Rather, whose reputation had been marred by the network's discredited report on President Bush's military record.
Excluding several weeks of her tenure, Couric never improved upon the ratings of interim anchor Bob Schieffer, who was named to host the broadcast temporarily after Rather left the newscast.
CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves lured Couric to CBS with promises that the staid "CBS Evening News" would be remade in a format more suited to her skills, but the program returned to a traditional format after ratings dropped.
In a statement Wednesday, a "CBS Evening News" spokeswoman said, "We are very proud of the 'CBS Evening News,' particularly our political coverage, and we have no plans for any changes regarding Katie or the broadcast."
In a separate statement provided by another spokeswoman, Couric said, "I am working hard and having fun. My colleagues continue to impress me with their commitment to the newscast, and I am very proud of the show we put on every day."