Couric's job uncertainty: a sign of the new anchor era

Recent reports suggest that Katie Couric will leave the "CBS Evening News" anchor desk, if not in the near term, then after the Nov. 4 presidential election or the inauguration that follows. In light of the fanfare surrounding her getting the job less than two years ago and its estimated $15 million annual salary, the ratings have been a disappointment to the network. Even if she'd been the perfect fit, the viewership of network newscasts has declined significantly due to competition from cable channels and the Internet. Many observers said the departures of Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings marked the end of long-tenured anchors. Time will tell, but Couric, Brian Williams (NBC), and Charlie Gibson (ABC) all have a long way to go before they approach the former troika on the job. History's longest-serving evening news anchors, their networks, and years of service, based on data kept by Poynteronline, a journalistic school and resource center:

Peter Jennings (ABC) 30
Dan Rather (CBS) 24
Tom Brokaw (NBC) 22

Walter Cronkite (CBS) 19

David Brinkley (NBC) 18
Chet Huntley (NBC) 14
Douglas Edwards (CBS) 14
John Chancellor (NBC) 12
Harry Reasoner (ABC) 8
John Charles Daly (ABC) 7

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