CBS News Chief Expects Evening Anchor Katie Couric to Remain Through Contract

CBS News President Sean McManus dismissed talk that Katie Couric may leave as "CBS Evening News" anchor by saying Thursday that he expected her to be doing the job through her full five-year contract.

A candid Couric interview in New York magazine this week renewed questions about Couric's future, leading a prominent blogger to start speculating about who might replace her.

"She has a five-year contract with CBS to anchor the evening news," McManus told The Associated Press. "All of us, including Katie, expect her to be anchoring the evening news in her fifth year."

Couric began anchoring the evening news last September and the ratings have been a disappointment, with CBS still a distant third behind ABC's "World News" and the "NBC Nightly News." After unsuccessfully trying a few new ideas, the CBS program is being revamped under recently arrived veteran producer Rick Kaplan.

CBS News leaders have expressed frustration with New York magazine, which had a picture of Couric on its cover over the quote: "I have days when I'm like, `Oh my God, what did I do?"' The cover omits the rest of the quote, where she says, "but for some weird reason, they don't happen that often."

While Couric in the story denies rumors that she's looking to jump to "60 Minutes" full-time, New York says that "it's obvious that `60 Minutes' best reflects what Couric would like to do."'

That led the influential industry blog tvnewser to begin posting suggestions this week on who would follow Couric as evening-news anchor. McManus said such speculation is "insulting and it's absurd."

He said he wondered why other anchors with ratings troubles -- "NBC Nightly News" with Brian Williams has lost viewers and fallen to second place -- aren't the subject of such speculation.

Brian Stelter, editor of the blog, said it's the blog's job to reflect what everyone is talking about.

"Maybe CBS is not thinking about who will succeed her," he said, "but everyone else is."