The $4.8 billion sale of Yahoo’s core media properties to Verizon Communications raised some interesting questions about the future of embattled former celebrity Katie Couric.
The ex- “America’s sweetheart” has been drawing down a reported eight figure salary at Yahoo as their “global news anchor” after failed second and third acts at CBS and ABC. But the New York Post reported earlier this year, after Yahoo announced that it was up for sale, that Couric could be looking for an exit from the once great media company. She was “thinking about her next act,” according to an inside source.
The speculation increased after the previously “perky” Couric was caught in a firestorm surrounding the anti-gun documentary Under The Gun, of which she was an executive producer. The Washington Free Beacon revealed that a crucial segment of the film had been deceptively edited to suggest that a group of gun rights activism were unable to answer one of Couric’s questions.
In fact, as an audio recording from the interview clearly shows, the activists answered the question immediately.
NPR and other media outlets acknowledged that the editing “reflected poorly” on Couric and her filmmaker friends from the Hamptons. Other Couric-produced documentaries were also flagged for deceptive editing.
Couric, who reportedly earns $10 million a year at Yahoo, eventually issued a lame non-apology for the editing in Under The Gun, taking “responsibility” for the “misleading” clip, and expressing regret that she “did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.” Essentially, she threw the film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, under the bus.
Couric declined to endorse any changes to the film, however, saying in June that the deceptively edited scene would remain in Under The Gun despite the fact that she “didn’t feel comfortable” with it. “It was my hope that, when I approached this topic, that this would be a conversation starter,” she said.
Now that Verizon is purchasing Yahoo’s “core assets” including its news programming, it’s unclear if Couric’s new bosses will want this expensive and damaged asset as the face of “America’s number one wireless network.” And as for Couric’s next act, it’s not clear if there’s anyone left to hire her to fail again for an eight figure salary. But she’ll always have the Hamptons.