So we were vaguely aware Katie Couric had a YouTube channel, but had no idea the CBS Evening News anchor put so much energy into it. It's almost as though she feels stifled at work! Can't imagine why that would be. Anyway, Los Angeles Times writer Matea Gold watched all the videos so you don't have to, and wrote up the highlights, which we've assembled into a quick montage after the jump. Couric snaps Larry King's suspenders, chats up the paparazzi, sings with Bette Midler, makes a Saturday Night Live joke and hangs out barefoot with a bunch of mom bloggers.

Ripped out of the context of the Evening News, Couric is charming and fresh, particularly when filmed next to stodgy Charles Gibson of ABC News. But it's not clear Americans want their TV news anchors charming and fresh, and that's probably why CBS producers have not promoted the YouTube channel, which has received just 19,000 views (some individual clips did better).

But the success of attractive, downright whimsical anchor Anderson Cooper at CNN should help producers make up their minds. For all his blushy, coquettish on-camera moments, there's little doubt Cooper would be taken seriously reprising the sort of coverage that raised his profile in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Nor does arguably hunky (*chokecough*) Keith Olbermann at MSNBC have trouble getting his "special comments" taken seriously, despite his repeated silly antics, like impersonating a pirate version of Rupert Murdoch.

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Likewise, it's no sexist knock against Couric's potential as a newscaster to say she reveals attractive, inviting, authentic glimmers of herself on the YouTube channel, one that might serve the former Today host well in an environment more receptive to her talents than the Evening News has thus far been.

[LA Times]