Skip to main content

How Much Money Katie Couric Turned Down At CBS To Save Other People's Jobs

Katie Couric has been in the public eye for a long time. In fact, by the time she started at CBS in 2006 she was certainly a big name in journalism---thanks to The Today Show--and she commanded a pretty impressive salary to go along with her skills and fame. However, a recent report indicates that Katie Couric actually turned down an even bigger amount of money in order to save the jobs of some of her coworkers. We're not talking a few bucks here or there, either. The reports indicate that she gave up $1 million dollars to avoid layoffs.

A new story coming from Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency (via Page Six) says that when Katie Couric was in her third year at CBS, the network was facing some difficulties and had plans to lay off staff. Allegedly, Katie Couric met with CBS News President Sean McManus about her salary, ultimately opting to take the pay cut in order to save the network from having to fire a slew of people who were vital to the staff.

The book states that both senior-level producers and newer employees were set to be kicked off the team thanks to the layoffs. We're only hearing about it years later because Couric decided not to tell anyone about her good Samaritan deed. In fact, the reports indicate that she simply asked that all of the money she was giving up would go directly to the staff and that she didn't want anyone to learn about what she did.

Katie Couric stuck with CBS until 2011, when she was put in an interesting situation again. In 2011, CBS News hit a low in the ratings, and despite her earlier sacrifice, the journalist was reportedly still making $15 million per year. She ultimately left the network for ABC and her own (short-lived) daytime talk show. More recently, she started a partnership that keeps her at ABC as a special contributor but also allows her to do work for Yahoo. Clearly, she's still doing pretty well for herself.

It's easy to scoff at Couric's good deed on account of how much her total salary was, but the truth is a majority of people in a position to make a large amount of money actually fight for every last dollar. One only needs to look at sports to learn that lesson. In an era in which most sports require a team to stay underneath a salary cap, a good percentage of players choose the maximum possible money, rather than leave some on the table for teammates. In the world of journalism, Katie Couric chose not to do that.

So, good for Katie Couric. Here's hoping she eventually finds her way back to her own series or another equally large career opportunity. She's definitely someone who deserves it.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.