NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – She made history by becoming the first woman to anchor the evening news solo, and Thursday evening Katie Couric sat in the anchor’s chair for the last time.
As part of her May 19 departure, Couric interviewed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and filed her final “Notebook” feature for CBSNews.com.
Couric ended her last newscast saying “Thank you so much for coming along with me on this incredible journey.”
Couric got off to a great start. Her first Evening News broadcast generated more than 13 million viewers — the highest ratings for the show since 1998. It was also the first evening newscast to be broadcast simultaneously online and on the radio.
In 2008, Couric won the Edward R. Murrow award for best newscast. However, the initial ratings success wouldn’t last and Evening News consistently found itself in third place. Some wondered if Couric could hold her own against her male counterparts.
That perception changed when she conducted a series of exclusive interviews with then Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin in September 2008. The initial 40-minute session aired September 24 and 25.
Couric’s hard-hitting questions on the emergency economic bailout and foreign-policy appeared to be too much for Palin, whose answers became the talk of the campaign and fodder for many, including Tina Fey and Amy Poehler who lampooned the interview on Saturday Night Live.
The interviews were a ratings success for Evening News and also went viral online–generating more than 10 million views on YouTube. Following the interviews, Palin criticized Couric and the media for the way they portrayed her.
In 2009, Couric was given the Walter Cronkite Award for her “extraordinary, persistent and detailed multi-part interviews with Republican vice-presidential Candidate Sarah Palin.” In fact, judges called Couric’s interviews a “defining moment in the 2008 presidential campaign.”
Scott Pelley will take over as anchor on June 6.