Continuing with the superficial: At least nine separate reporters noted the visibility of Couric’s “legendary” or “famous” or “celebrated” legs — startled, apparently, by the reality that when professional women forego pantsuits for blazers and skirts, their legs will be visible. (For comparison, we had to look long and hard to find any media mentions of Brian Williams’ physical appearance the morning after he inherited the NBC Nightly News from Tom Brokaw in December 2004). The worst among the “legs-centric” reviewers? ” The Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard (story headline: “Katie May Have Leg Up, But It’s Not on the News”) who began his review thusly: “CBS is spending $15 million a year on Katie Couric. That comes to $7.5 million per shapely leg. The new CBS anchor flashed her gams just a few minutes into her debut.” And further along, in referencing a segment on terrorism during which Couric sat on a chair across from her guest, Perigard commented that “viewers across America were probably thinking her legs should be registered as weapons of mass destruction” (thereby outdoing any of the cringe-inducing quips that came from Couric’s mouth Tuesday night, of which there were several — such as: “Still ahead … it may be a record discovery of black gold in the Gulf of Mexico, but does it mean you’ll be yelling eureka at the gas pump?”).


And yet, as the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz observed yesterday: “In the end, it’s not about pleasing TV writers. Couric has to connect with the older people who tend to watch nightly newscasts. And if she doesn’t, the TV writers could turn skeptical in a hurry.”


Could turn? We’d say many of them turned long ago.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.