The first woman to solo-anchor an evening news show is expected to vacate her post when her contract ends in June

By Lynette Rice
Updated April 08, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

It can’t be fun for Katie Couric when rumors of her departure seem to be generating more attention than what she accomplished in nearly five years with CBS Evening News. But being the first woman to solo-anchor an evening news show (and earning five Emmys in the process) doesn’t really matter if the ratings aren’t any better than when she took the job in the first place: At 6.1 million, Evening News is still languishing in third behind NBC Nightly News (9.2 million) and ABC’s World News (8.1 million). So Couric, 54, is expected to vacate her post once her contract ends in June. CBS still won’t confirm her departure: ”We’re having ongoing discussions with Katie Couric,” said a spokesperson. ”We have no announcements to make at this time. Until we do, we will continue to decline comment on rumor or speculation.” Nonetheless, Couric seemed to entertain life after Evening News in a recent New York Times Magazine interview, clearly addressing the possibility of a successor and her rumored syndicated daytime talk show (which insiders say is all but certain). In the meantime, a new round of speculation has begun over who will inherit the job. In-house candidates include Scott Pelley and Harry Smith. Of course, there’s always Julie Chen!