Katie Couric Seeks Advice

By Kurtz, Howard | Newsweek, May 2, 2011 | Go to article overview

Katie Couric Seeks Advice


Kurtz, Howard, Newsweek


Byline: Howard Kurtz

On her way out, the CBS anchor starts to open up about her life's ups and downs.

Katie Couric kept having a dark fantasy that one of the New York City buses with her face splashed along the side would run her over, completing her demise. As CBS's brand-new anchor five years ago, she was getting pummeled over everything from her wardrobe to her eye makeup to her alleged lack of gravitas, and "the very public vivisection was at times painful and hard to understand." But, she says in a new book, she finally told herself: "Put on your big-girl pants."

Couric's confessions in the The Best Advice I Ever Got come as she is about to shed her anchor pants for a plunge into the syndicated future. And that, she tells me, is daunting and a bit nerve-racking.

"Here I am at 54, and every step of the way you kind of have to evaluate things and do a gut check on your satisfaction level or recalculate it," Couric says. "Change is hard. There's always an element of fear. One thing my experience doing the Evening News taught me is that it's great to talk about getting out of your comfort zone, but you have to remember that's going to be uncomfortable at times."

Couric says she resisted writing much about herself in the hope of still penning a memoir. As she gathered contributions from dozens of big-name acquaintances, from Mario Batali to Jimmy Carter to Michael J. Fox, she says she "was struck by how intensely personal many of them were," and felt it would be unfair "not to be equally candid about my own life. I'm kind of an open book in terms of sharing things, hopefully not in a TMI way."

It wasn't pleasant to revisit the battering she took after her 2006 debut at CBS, but Couric sounds philosophical: "Listen, other people have been criticized in the press; it goes with the territory." But her emotions remain raw over the death of her husband, Jay Monahan, when she was riding high at the Today show. While he battled cancer, she resented others who were laughing and enjoying themselves.

"I'm not the kind of person who allows myself to be permanently scarred by anything," she explains, "unless it is the death of my husband, which I think about on an almost daily basis still. But life goes on, and you have to put it in a place where you can tolerate it."

Some of the life lessons in this volume are vague (Maria Shriver says don't be afraid of being afraid; Donald Trump says learn everything you can).

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