The 2006 offer to Katie Couric to anchor the CBS Evening News came with $15,000,000 a year and the chance to report on the venerable "60 Minutes." It's been reported that it apparently came with a less-than-collegial welcome from Jeff Fager, then "60 Minutes" executive producer.

If you don't remember Ms. Couric's appearances on "60 Minutes," that's not surprising. Her reports haven't even averaged five a year, and Mr. Fager‘s appointment as chairman of CBS News has apparently sent a message to Team Couric that perhaps it was time to move on. And, as the revered Walter Cronkite used to say, "that's the way it was." Ms. Couric and CBS are negotiating when and how to end her 5-year run.

One can only suppose that the overall disappointing ratings haven't helped engender a high level of professional respect and collegiality. According to the most recent Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, under Ms. Couric, CBS news ranked last among the evening news offerings we measure. Remember, these rankings are conducted among the viewers of the actual news programs themselves, so where engagement is weak, ratings should shrink—which is what happened. Most recent rankings are:

  1. NBC
  2. CNN
  3. ABC
  5. CBS

It's been reported that Ms. Couric is pursuing the idea of her own syndicated reality talk show, possibly with her former "Today" show co-host, Matt Lauer. But Mr. Lauer is under contract to NBC until 2012, so it's not certain how real that dream is going to be. But we'll see. As social historian Daniel J. Boorstein noted, "Nothing is really real unless it happens on TV."