Katie Couric Wins the Internets

Katie Couric Wins the Internets

Once upon a time, ‘mericans watched television all day and all night whether there was something good on or not (and there usually wasn’t). They’d go to sleep with the Tonight Show and wake up to Today because they were too lazy to change the channel—which took physical effort back then as most people didn’t have “remotes.” The TV would be playing while Americans got ready for their jobs—which everyone who wanted to work had, especially the men folk, because those were the days—and the “homemakers” (old-speak for “stay-at-home moms”) would watch in the kitchen while making a nutritious breakfast for the family before everyone left and the soap operas started.

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Katie Couric joined Today at a tough time. (Specifically, 1991.) The show had survived an anchor-chimp and even Barbara Walters, but then came the real crisis. Even though by then women had the vote and could become astronauts, on television news (which Today considered itself) they weren’t equal. Once a woman turned forty, she would “move on to new opportunities.”

Traditional non-renewal ceremony for female newscasters of a certain age.

Traditional non-renewal ceremony for female newscasters of a certain age.

This happened to Couric’s predecessor once removed, Jane Pauley. First, NBC gave her a television sister-wife, Deborah Norville. Jane, her television-husband Bryant Gumble, and Deborah would all banter as though the arrangement was perfectly normal, except sometimes you’d see the pain on Jane’s face, or maybe it was just her decrepitude. Soon, Jane made her final appearance with Bryant and Deborah, who spent the hour eulogizing her. Jane seemed shell-shocked, but tried to go along so as not to upset the viewers.

Across America, ladies rose up and changed the channel because they knew they too might be replaced at their jobs or in their homes by younger, hotter women. Today‘s ratings plummeted. Within a year, Deborah Norville was replaced by Katie Couric, who was, on the surface, far less threatening, and America rejoiced.

Bryant's primary job was spray them both with a water bottle whenever the hissing started.

Bryant’s primary job was spray them both with a water bottle whenever the hissing started.

Times changed. In 2006, Katie left Today to become the sole anchor on CBS nightly news—the grown-ups’ table to morning news’ card table in the hall. This was HUGE because prior to that television executives believed that no one would take a woman reading the news aloud from a teleprompter seriously. Plus, she was leaving voluntarily AND she was over fifty, which is like 103 in television news lady years.

Then, in 2008, Katie became a hero for helping prevent the biggest disaster that definitely would have led to a nuclear holocaust since Christopher Walken shot Martin Sheen in The Dead Zone. She interviewed vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and made her look stupid. In retrospect, that doesn’t seem very difficult, but Sister Sarah hadn’t gone rogue yet, and America didn’t really know her, so Katie not only saved the world, but gave us “All of them, Katie,” one of the best taglines ever!

"Trick question! No one's read a newspaper since 1998!"

“Trick question! No one’s read a newspaper since 1993!”

Katie’s accomplishments did not end there. In 2009, she finally figured out what the Internet was and got a show on CBS.com. She went from there to a gig on Yahoo as their “Global News Anchor” in 2013, and was never heard from again. Or so we thought, until it was announced Friday that Yahoo has renewed her contract for $10 million, making her the highest paid (pro-rated on a per hour basis) anchoress or maybe even anchor, ever.

This proves what we’ve all known for years. The revolution will NOT be televised, or if it is, no one will notice because television news is dead. Long live internet news (which nobody is watching either). Also Katie Couric is awesome!

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Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

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