This Former "Today" Host Is Stunned & Hurt by Katie Couric's New Book
Couric writes that Deborah Norville had a "major relatability problem."
Katie Couric's new book, Going There, doesn't hit shelves for three more weeks, but it's already ruffling some feathers and bringing backlash on the longtime news presenter. In excerpts already released from the memoir, Couric comments on some fellow news anchors she's worked with—as well as other celebrities like Prince Harry and Martha Stewart—and a couple of them have already expressed that they're shocked by her words. Asked by the New York Post to respond to what Couric writes about her, former Today host Deborah Norville kept her comment succinct and to the point. Read on to see what Norville had to say and to find out why so many are shocked by the upcoming memoir.
Couric replaced Norville on Today in 1991.
Couric is best known for hosting Today from 1991 to 2006. When she got the job, she took over the position that had previously been held by Norville. Couric filled in for Norville when she was on maternity leave, and when Norville didn't return—the network said she was spending more time as a new mother—Couric landed the position permanently. In an article from 1991, the Los Angeles Times observed that Couric was "more accessible" and that Norville was a "a cooler, more distant anchor." During this time, there was also negativity associated with Norville, because not long after she joined the show, longtime host Jane Pauley left.
Couric is critical of Norville in her book.
As reported by the Daily Mail, in Going There, Couric comments on the "residual bad feelings" toward Norville, because of the situation with Pauley. She also writes that Norville had a "major relatability problem" and that she had a "relentless perfectionism" that viewers didn't like.
In 1991, Couric told the Los Angeles Times that the assumption that Norville was the reason Pauley left the show was "totally unfair and unfounded." She added, "Deborah is a very capable journalist and hard worker, and she handled herself beautifully in a difficult situation."
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Norville was hurt by Couric's words.
Regarding what Couric wrote about her, Norville gave a short statement to the New York Post. "I'm really too stunned and, frankly, hurt to comment," she said.
Following her time at Today, Norville worked for a few years for CBS, including on 48 Hours and the CBS Evening News. Since 1995, she has been the host of Inside Edition.
Couric also offended Ashleigh Banfield in her memoir.
In the book, Couric writes that she purposely kept her distance from other women in the media industry. She felt she needed to "protect [her] turf" and was concerned that "someone younger and cuter was always around the corner." One of these women she saw as a rival was Ashleigh Banfield. In the book, Couric writes that Banfield "was the next big thing. I'd heard her father was telling anyone who'd listen that she was going to replace me. In that environment, mentorship felt like self-sabotage."
Banfield spoke out against Couric's words on her show, Banfield, and refuted the claim Couric made about her father, a retired architect, who she said was "extremely senile" at the time and only said that he'd like his daughter to "a desk job like Katie's" instead of reporting from Afghanistan. Banfield also told TMZ Live that she is now wondering whether Couric tried to sabotage her career. "She was so good at her job, and I looked up to her, so I didn't believe it was possible that anything could have been going on behind the scenes to derail me there," she said. "I heard a lot of rumors. I really wondered if this is it. It's really hard to process this, I'm not going to lie."
Other parts of Couric's book are also making headlines.
In Couric's book, she also shares the supportive text message she sent Matt Lauer when she found out he was fired amid allegations of sexual misconduct and her complicated feelings towards him. (Lauer has said there was some truth in the stories involving harassment at NBC, but denied having a nonconsensual sexual relationship.) Couric also wrote about her rivalry with former Good Morning America host Diane Sawyer, writing that she "loved that [she] was getting under Diane's skin." She also said that prison was a "healthy humbling" for Martha Stewart, and wrote that Prince Harry had "a strong aroma of alcohol and cigarettes seemed to ooze from [his] every pore" when she saw him at a polo match in 2012.