As the situation in Egypt continues to deteriorate, the first wave of "big name" American TV anchors has arrived to cover the story. ABC's Christiane Amanpour of "This Week" anchored that broadcast from Cairo on Sunday, and CNN's Anderson Cooper is reporting from the Egyptian capital as well. We're also guessing their counterparts from NBC and Fox will fly in shortly, if they haven't already arrived.
Readers will note that we didn't mention CBS, the organization that once set the standard for broadcast journalism. While the network has staffers in Egypt, Evening News anchor Katie Couric is not among them. Where is Ms. Couric, you might ask? Frolicking on the beach in Florida with her boy-toy, Brooks Perlin. And later this week, she makes a guest appearance on Glee. Gee, that should cement her next Peabody Award.
No one begrudes the CBS anchor a little time off with her significant other. We also recall that the sainted Walter Cronkite once did a cameo on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But with Egypt slipping into anarchy, you'd think Ms. Couric would be heading for Cairo, or someone at CBS would request that she cut her vacation short and get on a plane. Say what you will about Dan Rather (and we're certainly not among his fans), but he never shy about leaving the studio for a big story.
Couric's sojourn in South Beach (as Cairo burns) may be another indicator of her departure from CBS. Her broadcast remains mired in last place, while CBS is paying her $15 million a year. It's a given that she will have to take a pay cut to remain at the network. Meanwhile, media insiders say she's leaving the anchor desk for a day-time talk show, possibly produced by former NBC Entertainment President (and Today show honcho) Jeff Zucker.
But her remaining months at CBS may not be very comfortable. Skipping a big story won't win you any friends in the newsroom or the executive suite, and it may be another indicator of her pending departure. If Couric doesn't show up in Cairo this week, her departure from CBS is all-but-a-done-deal.
ADDENDUM: Late update from TVNewser: Katie Couric is on her way to Cairo, tanned, rested and ready.