Couric Slims Down for CBS' Promo Magazine, But Should CBS Be Beefing Up Instead?

Feasting on a marketing blitz in taking over "The CBS Evening News" in September, Katie Couric is everywhere--working so hard she appears to be missing meals.

Or, is that just a retouched photograph?

It's the latter.

A photograph of Couric in the recent edition of Watch!, a CBS-produced magazine that focuses on all TV things CBS, shows a smiling Couric in a trim-fitting, black pin-striped suit. But said that wasn't the original picture.

The original photo, which first saw the light of day back during the CBS upfront presentation in May, portrayed a bulked-up Couric--at least 15 pounds or so to the north--in a suit that was more of a chocolate color.

TVnewser ran both photos, side by side, on its Web site yesterday; Broadcasting & Cable picked up the story later in the day.



Where's the beef? As we all know, photographs in magazines are retouched regularly--especially in virtually all women's consumer books. It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that Watch!, a positive-spinning magazine about CBS TV shows and talent, would want to do all it could to show off Couric in the best possible light--and lightest profile.

Fit, friendly, serious, and ready to tackle the world's important news is no doubt the real message of Couric's corrected photo op.

That's not the problem. The gripe is for Watch!, which touts itself as a "journalistic enterprise." Using that word is a tough sell when the subjects of this journalism come from one area of the TV universe--CBS TV shows.

We in the business press know better, of course. But what about the regular Joes who get the magazine free on American Airlines?

It isn't about the photos. Entertainment Weekly, perhaps TV Guide, might offer up a Photoshop nip and tuck, here and there. Who could blame them?

The real issue is whether Watch!, or any entertainment magazine, can ask tough questions--why a TV show failed, why a scheduling change blundered--of its creative and network personnel. Make that all creative and network personnel. Don't we "watch" other TV sometime? The magazine is not called CBS' Watch!

Watch!'s tagline is "Tune In To The Best In Television." Too bad I'm only given one channel to work with.

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