Do you remember the first time you saw Katie Couric on network television?
She was reporting live from the Pentagon during Operation Desert Shield. She was young and fresh and sincere and, since my oldest brother was one of the first responders in Iraq, I appreciated her honesty and empathy.
Before you knew it, she was co-anchor of “The Today Show.” Her bubbly enthusiasm was a nice foil for Bryant Gumbel’s arrogant intelligence (tinged with warmth only when absolutely necessary). When Matt Lauer replaced Bryant, the two developed a nice partnership.
Katie was in her element, and all was right with the world.
But her eye was on the ultimate prize — the nightly news desk. The big boys’ chair. As a former broadcast journalism major myself, I understood Katie’s drive to sit at the ultimate throne. But I worried about what she would have to do to succeed there.
And look at her now. Nearing the end of her contract, I barely recognize the woman who sits there. In fact, she barely looks female.
Her haircut is atrocious. (If you wanted to look like a man, Katie, congratulations.) Your facial expression is stern. Your personality drained of any resemblance to the warmth and connection to your audience that got you where you are today.
You tried to fit into this job, Katie, instead of making it your own. And what do you have to show for it?
Third place ratings. Constant criticism about your performance and outrageous salary. And Diane Sawyer — another female nightly news anchor — coming in late in the game and doing it her way…better.
Leave the anchor desk, Katie, and go find yourself again. We liked that girl.
And I’ll bet you did, too.