CBS is going to improve Katie Couric’s ratings or make her die trying

tjndc5-5gb8f404wfmj7lha27m_layout.jpgRemember when Katie said she didn’t think it was necessary to don a flack jacket and head to Iraq to prove her bona fides and boost ratings? Turns out her new uber-producer, Rick Kaplan, thinks she does.

Next week, the CBS Evening News anchor will celebrate her one year anniversary on the job by reporting from Syria and then Iraq on a “high-risk tour,” according to Variety. Her last trip overseas was back in November when she accompanied President Bush to Amman, Jordan (which is less bomb-y than Iraq but still not exactly the Upper West Side).

Couric’s entourage will be skeletal, according to the newspaper–just Kaplan, D.C. bureau chief Christopher Isham, and editor Jerry Cipriano. The group leaves today and will spend the next week reporting before she begins broadcasting live on September 4th.

Kaplan says Couric’s presence has helped land high-level interviews with “reclusive politicians and alleged terror leaders.”
Couric is a single mother of two and has said in the past that that role would color her decision when it comes to taking risky assignments.

One side benefit of the 12-day trip: Couric will be out of the country while author Edward Klein hits the media circuit to tout his inflammatory “tell-all” about the anchor, which the Washington Post summed up thusly yesterday:

<blockquote><div>She’s conniving and self-absorbed and ungrateful. And shallow. And into younger men. And older men. She makes too much money, and she yelled at her husband. And she’s had work done. And she’s liberal. And she was mean to Ann Curry. . . . </div></blockquote>

(AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)