Okay, so I admit it, I have a total crush on Today‘s KatieCouric. It’s not a popular opinion around PopWatch HQ, and you can besure that I have been mocked, ridiculed, and pitied for expressing myadmiration so fervently. So it was with some sadness that I read today that her decamping from the Today show to anchor the CBS Evening News is all but a done deal.She’ll reportedly become the first female solo network anchor,replacing Dan Rather by way of Bob Schieffer, who has filled the postfor the last 13 months.

Her detractors call her “perky,” “flirtatious,” and “blonde.” In thename of Kelly Ripa, what’s wrong with that? (Oh, don’t get me startedon Kelly Ripa. I’ll gush.) I think Couric would probably be the firstto tell you that hosting a morning show is not as serious ajournalistic pursuit as, say, covering the war in Iraq or themachinations of Congress. But it is journalism, a strangejuggling act that requires dexterity, warmth, and a skill forimprovisation. It’s the way a journalist handles the live format’squeasy adjacencies — “The suspect allegedly murdered his family whilethey slept, and then turned the gun on himself… Coming up next: pantyhose!” — that make morning TV so inherently spontaneous andentertaining. It’s what I think Couric does best. Not only can she connect with the mostpress-shy celebrity, she dispatches cooking segments, interviews with presidential candidates, and her espousal of health charities with similar ease.

Sure, she likes to play the girly-girl at times. (Gawker, inparticular, took her to task just today for a sexually charged pas de deux she shared with guest Antonio Banderas on Monday’s show. Their headline on the topic of her impending departure: “OK, B—-, Just Go Already!”) Tina Fey, speculating on Couric way back in January of2005, said that a move to CBS would be great — “for people who like the news, but wish it contained more awkwardflirting.” It couldn’t hurt, could it?