Katie Couric has truly gone there, to paraphrase the title of her new blockbuster memoir. However, she’s burned so many bridges that it’s unclear whether America’s former sweetheart will ever be able to return.
Nobody understands why Katie did this, according to a senior news producer who has worked with Couric. “She’s sabotaging her own legacy.”
Although “Going There” won’t be released until Oct. 26, The Washington Post published some of the shocking quotes this week, including ones about Couric’s longtime rival Diane Sawyer (“I loved that I was getting under Diane’s skin”), Martha Stewart (for whom prison was a “healthy humbling”), and her ex, former TV producer and current Red Sox chairman Tom Werner (a “textbook narcissist”).
She viciously criticizes Deborah Norville, a co-host on “Today,” for her “relentless perfectionism,” which has turned off morning viewers.
Norville told The Post: “I’m really too stunned and, frankly, hurt to comment.”
Regarding Prince Harry and Couric’s claim that “a strong aroma of alcohol and cigarettes seemed to ooze from [his] every pore” at a polo match in 2012, a friend of Harry’s paraphrased Queen Elizabeth’s words after her grandson’s own sensational comments to Oprah Winfrey: “Recollections may vary.”
Couric admits that she initially turned down younger journalist Ashleigh Banfield because helping her would have been “self-sabotage” and because “I’d heard her father was telling a lie.”
Banfield responded this week, claiming that her “senile” father was in a care facility at the time and had simply told a Post reporter that he wished his daughter, who was then an NBC Afghanistan correspondent, would be “given a desk job like Katie’s.”
Banfield told The Post: “Her words have really hit me hard. She was my compass. At a time when we were all called bimbos, I always thought of her as one of the bravest presenters. She was the greatest morning show host of all time. I’m completely taken aback.”
She now believes Couric harmed her career.
“NBC left me brokenhearted. I was at the top of my game in 2002. But just as quickly as I rose, I was derailed and given no explanation. They took away my office, my desk, my phone, my computer … They never told me why. It was the most painful mystery. When I heard about Katie’s comments I wondered if that was the reason.”
The Banfield snub, according to a TV industry insider, “certainly wasn’t an isolated incident.” [Couric] was unquestionably a factor in the toxicity [at NBC]. Katie was a part of a culture that was hostile to women, and she helped to perpetuate it.”
Others in the television news industry aren’t happy about it.
Couric has been rudely awakened if she expected the book to be met with rah-rah enthusiasm.
“From the excerpts I’ve seen, she’s taking down women from Martha Stewart to Diane Sawyer and Deborah Norville. She’s … so rough on other women for being ambitious like she was, it’s unforgivable,” said the senior news producer. “She gives fresh meaning to that old saying: ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’”
A former TV colleague of Couric’s told The Post: “I think she genuinely wants to settle scores, but she didn’t realize how bad this would be and how badly she would come across.”