It's semi-official: Katie Couric is leaving as the CBS Evening News anchor. Although only old people watch evening newscasts, the position still carries a definite cultural cachet. Who's next? We handicap, below.
Kathie Lee Gifford: 200-1. The Katie Couric formula worked out so well. Why not double down?
Keith Olbermann: 100-1. He could use the work though.
Shepard Smith: 40-1. Would everyone like Shep as much if he wasn't the "only sane news anchor on Fox News" guy? It would be nice to find out one day.
Bob Schieffer: 15-1. He's old. He hits the CBS News demographic right in the dentures. He could do it until whoever CBS really wants had an open contract. Eh, why not?
David Gregory or Christiane Amanpour: 12-1. The hosts of the weekend talk shows on competing networks would no doubt not be averse to sliding into a network anchor chair; the ones at their own networks aren't opening up soon. Contract negotiations would be a nightmare, though. Amanpour would be great, meaning she's highly unlikely to get the job, for... let's say "demographic" reasons.
George Stephanopoulos: 10-1. The smug little politico who's been masquerading as a journalist for the past several years would certainly like a newsier job than Good Morning America. His total lack of gravitas means he would be a horrible choice for CBS. Don't count him out.
Harry Smith, Scott Pelley, or Russ Mitchell: 6-1. These are the three internal CBS candidates being bandied about. The hiring of any one of them would be an admission by CBS that paying big money to have a superstar sit in the anchor seat is an idea that just doesn't pay off. Smith or Mitchell would do the job just fine, in a staid, boring way that would allow CBS News to continue languishing in last place, but more affordably. Scott Pelley has the look of a real sleazebag, though I couldn't prove that he is one. But looks matter, on TV.
Anderson Cooper: 5-1. It's your destiny, Anderson. Stop playing in the minors. Get off the B-team. And other platitudes. This one makes sense for everyone, assuming a deal could be made.
Watson the Jeopardy-Playing Robot: 3-1. He's more than qualified to read a teleprompter. People would watch to see if he made any wacky errors. He's the certified smartest being in America. He doesn't need a bunch of free shit in his green room. It's only a matter of time.
[Photo via Getty]