Katie Couric was a cultural icon after anchoring Today for 15 years, but now some are saying she’s risking “ruining her legacy” with her new memoir, Going There. The book is slated to be released on October 26, but leaked portions of the memoir have already caused waves among Couric’s former Today co-workers. Now some are speaking out, most notably Ashleigh Banfield and Deborah Norville whom the former anchor singled out.
Katie Couric Shocks With Memoir Claims
Though it’s still unreleased, Katie Couric’s memoir Going There has caused quite a stir in the TV journalism industry, including among some of Couric’s former co-workers on Today. In her book, Couric spoke specifically about two women on the show, former NBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield and former anchor Deborah Norville, whom Couric replaced in 1991. Of Norville, Couric wrote that she had a relatability problem with viewers who were intimidated by her “relentless perfection.”
When it came to Ashleigh Banfield, a journalist who worked on Today, Couric admitted that she believed helping the younger woman would have been “self-sabotage,” adding, “I’d heard her father was telling anyone who’d listen that she was going to replace me.” These confessions were stunning to some in the industry, including a “senior news producer” who previously worked with Couric and spoke with the New York Post. “Nobody can understand why Katie did this,” the producer said, “She’s ruining her legacy.”
Deborah Norville ‘Stunned’ And ‘Hurt’
Norville also spoke to the Post about Couric’s claims in her book, telling the outlet, “I’m really too stunned and, frankly, hurt to comment.” While Norville, who left Today in 1991 after giving birth, didn’t have much to say, Banfield, on the other hand, didn’t hold back.
Banfield insisted that Couric’s claims of her father bragging that she’d replace the veteran anchor were misleading. Instead, Banfield revealed, her “senile” father lived in a care home at the time and had simply commented on a report that he hoped Banfield, who was then an Afghanistan correspondent for NBC, would receive “a desk job like Katie’s.”
Ashleigh Banfield ‘Gobsmacked’
She went on to say, “Her words have really hit me hard. She was my North Star. I always looked at her as one of the most brave presenters … at a time when we were all called bimbos. She was the best morning show host ever. I’m just gobsmacked.”
The host of Banfield went on to question whether Couric had a hand in the fact that her career was “derailed” with no explanation. “NBC left me brokenhearted. I was at the top of my game in 2002,” she explained, “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.”
There’s no proof that Couric had anything to do with Banfield’s career disappointments, but it’s obvious that the famous anchor was never concerned with helping the younger woman. It remains to be seen whether the revelations contained in Katie Couric’s memoir will change her pop culture legacy, despite what some sources are saying. One thing is clear: Couric’s book of recollections will certainly make an eye-opening and fascinating read.