Katie Couric Just Revealed Why She Really Left the "Today" Show
In Couric's new book "Going There,” she shares how she truly felt about her job, her coworkers, and more.
Katie Couric interviewed countless controversial figures throughout her storied career as a morning show host and news anchor. But now the tables have turned, and she's finding herself in the hot seat as excerpts from her new tell-all, Going There (out Oct. 26), reveal some of the not-so-soft sides of the much-beloved host. Couric is set to appear on Today on Oct. 19 to promote the book, speaking with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, and it's bound to be an interesting conversation, considering the rather critical words she shares about some of her former co-stars in Going There.
According to a new excerpt published by the New York Post, the book also takes a dig at Today in a portion where Couric describes the real reason behind her departure. Read on to learn about the latest drama to come out of Couric's memoir.
Katie Couric revealed that she left Today because it was preventing her from being taken seriously.
In an excerpt published by The New York Post's Page Six, Couric writes that after 15 years on Today, she was feeling "restless" and felt that the occasional ridiculousness of the show was damaging her reputation as a serious journalist.
"I longed to be respected for my journalistic chops, and although I'd done many serious interviews in the morning, the fun stuff, which I had a blast doing—like flying across the plaza dressed as Peter Pan while flinging phosphorescent confetti, fulfilling my dream of being a backup singer for Darlene Love, hurling myself onto a Velcro wall—was what people remembered," she writes.
She also criticizes the show for its coverage of more serious topics. "I felt like the show was getting softer, the hard news interviews getting shorter, the segments getting more sensational," she says in the book. "The Laci Peterson story seemed to come on like clockwork at 7:35 every day, featuring her low-life husband, Scott, a prime suspect in her murder, not because there were new developments but because the story 'rated.'"
Couric also takes aim at CBS, where she went after Today.
Couric got her wish to do more serious news by moving over to CBS to anchor its Evening News program. She was there for six years, but that doesn't mean she has only glowing things to say about her time there.
Page Six reports that in Going There, Couric details how she was asked by then-CBS network president Les Moonves to move from the coveted evening news role to hosting CBS This Morning.
"Absolutely not … I didn't leave the morning show I helped make number one so I could go to the third-place morning show," she writes in the excerpt obtained by Page Six. "I had come here to accomplish something, and if it didn't work, it didn't work. I'd rather leave the network than retreat to the morning show, which at the time was a cheap imitation of the other two," she adds.
Her words about former NBC colleague Ashleigh Banfield have also made headlines.
In her new tell-all, Couric is also brutally honest about how she feels about ex-colleagues, including Ashleigh Banfield. In the early 2000s, Banfield was just beginning to make a name for herself at MSNBC. Couric admits in her new book that she could have mentored Banfield but opted not to. The up-and-comer, Couric writes in Going There, "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 responded to Couric's memoir on her current NewsNation show in late September, saying her father was in a long-term care home at the time with dementia and that the former Today co-host seemed to exaggerate his comments.
The book, Banfield said in a more recent interview with TMZ, made her question if Couric had a hand in hastening her departure from NBC News in 2004. "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," Banfield told TMZ Live earlier this month. "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."
Couric's memoir left her former Today co-host Deborah Norville feeling "stunned."
Couric joined Deborah Norville as a host on the Today show in 1991. In her new memoir, Couric says that Norville was "too perfect" for morning television.
According to an excerpt published by The Daily Mail, Couric writes that Norville had a "major relatability problem" for people who were getting ready while watching the show. Couric recalled that one coworker said that Norville made "people feel like they need to get dressed before they turn on the TV."
In response, Norville told the New York Post: "I'm really too stunned and, frankly, hurt to comment."