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Television journalist Katie Couric, formerly of the Today show, signed a deal with CBS in 2006 to become the first woman to anchor CBS Evening News alone.
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For her part, Couric had become the undisputed star of morning television. In early 1997, Gumbel left Today after 15 years. (He now anchors the CBS morning newsmagazine The Early Show with Jane Clayson.) He was replaced with Matt Lauer, who had served as the show's news anchor since 1994.
Couric's incredible success with Today continued throughout the 1990s. In the summer of 1998, she signed a four-year contract extension with NBC for $28 million. Her $7 million yearly salary elevated her into the ranks of the top personalities in TV news, including prime-time anchors Diane Sawyer, Brokaw and Dan Rather. That same year, however, Couric faced profound tragedy in her personal life: Monahan, then a legal analyst with NBC News, died in January 1998, following a six-month battle with colon cancer. He was 42.
In the years since her husband's untimely death, Couric mounted an aggressive campaign to raise money for research and testing in order to fight colon cancer. As part of her efforts, Couric masterminded two weeklong television series to raise awareness of the disease, even undergoing an on-air colonoscopy herself in order to impress upon viewers the importance of testing. By the end of 2000, her campaign had raised more than $10 million.
In 2000, Couric published a children's book, The Brand New Kid, which topped the New York Times children's-picture-book bestseller list for three weeks. She went on to write the book Blue Ribbon Day in 2004.
In January 2002, Couric signed a new contract with NBC for a reported $65 million over four and a half years, which allowed her to stay at the helm of Today as well as explore other possibilities at the network. The deal made Couric the world's highest paid TV personality. Couric continued to make TV history in 2006: After 15 years with the Today show, she signed a deal to become the first woman to anchor CBS Evening News alone. She would also contribute to 60 Minutes, and anchor prime time news specials for CBS. Couric debuted as the solo evening news anchor for CBS on September 5, 2006—the first evening newscast to be simulcast live on the internet and local radio stations. Nearly 13.6 million viewers watched the show, bringing in the highest ratings for the show since February 1998. In 2008, Couric won the Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast.
In 2012, Couric became the host of a new talk show on ABC, Katie. The show's debut (September 10, 2012) marked the most-watched first show of daytime television since Dr. Phil's debut in September 2002.
Couric married Jay Monahan in 1989, and the couple had their first daughter, Elinor Tully "Ellie" Monahan, on July 23, 1991. Their second daughter, Caroline "Carrie" Couric Monahan, was born on January 5, 1996. In 1998, Couric's husband died of colon cancer. He was 42 years old. In 2007, Couric began dating 33-year-old entrepreneur Brooks Perlin. She currently lives in New York with her two children.
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