EXCLUSIVE: Katie Couric rips into former TODAY Show colleagues, admits she froze out female rivals to ‘protect her turf,’ says her toyboy ex was a ‘midlife crisis’ and takes potshots at Prince Harry who stank of alcohol in her new memoir
Katie Couric spares few from criticism in her new memoir, which she uses to settle scores from her four decades in TV, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Over 500 pages in length, Couric tears into ex-boyfriends, former colleagues at NBC and CBS and ridicules A-list celebrities including Prince Harry.
In ‘Going There’, Couric admits that she gave Ashleigh Banfield the cold shoulder early in her career because helping her would have been ‘self sabotage’.
She rips into Deborah Norville, who she replaced on the TODAY Show, for having a ‘relentless perfection’ which turned off morning show viewers.
When Couric switched from TODAY to host the Evening News on CBS, staffers fought back with an ‘insurgency’ which left her feeling like Hillary Clinton because she was so under siege, she writes.
Couric is just as blunt about her love life and says ex-boyfriend Brooks Perlin, who was 17 years her junior, was a ‘mid-life crisis’ while TV producer Tom Werner was a ‘textbook narcissist’.
Couric puts down Martha Stewart, saying it took a ‘some healthy humbling (prison will do that . . .) to develop a sense of humor.’
Even the Royal family end up in Couric’s sights and she describes how Prince Harry stank of cigarettes and alcohol when they met, and how Prince Andrew cozied up to Jeffrey Epstein at a bizarre dinner at his New York mansion.
DailyMail.com has seen the manuscript, which is out in late October and will be accompanied by an 11-city book tour.
DailyMail.com has read the manuscript for Katie Couric’s book ‘Going There’, which is out in late October and will be accompanied by an 11-city book tour
Couric rips into Deborah Norville, who she replaced on the TODAY Show, for having a ‘relentless perfection’ which turned off morning show viewers. The hosts are pictured in 1990
The book has sparked outrage among people who have seen the manuscript, one saying that it ‘should be called Burning Bridges by Catty Couric as it literally reads like Kitty Kelley wrote it about Katie’, referring to the notoriously snarky celebrity biographer.
‘Going There’ will be published in late October by Little, Brown and Company
Couric’s last major gig was with Yahoo which ended in 2017. Another person said that after this book she will ‘never get a job at any television network or cable channel ever again because she attacks everyone’.
‘She’ll be stuck with her newsletter and Instagram stories for the rest of her working life even though the book oozes of her desperation to be back on network television hosting her own show,’ they said.
‘Going There’ does tell Couric’s personal story including a moving chapter about the death of her father, whose shift into PR from journalism to have a steady income for his young family was Couric’s inspiration to be a reporter.
But as the book progresses that narrative gets sidelined for sideswipes at people Couric feels have maligned her.
CONTEMPT FOR HER RIVALS
Among the most striking passages is Couric explaining how she didn’t stick up for other women at work because she saw them as a threat to her own career.
She admits that she had bad feelings for Deborah Norville even though she replaced her hosting TODAY in 1991.
Norville took two months off for maternity leave and Couric filled in – when Norville didn’t return Couric got the job permanently.
Couric claims there were ‘residual bad feelings’ towards Norville for her obvious differences with Jane Pauley, her former TODAY co-host who left in 1989 under acrimonious conditions.
Couric writes that Norville had a ‘major relatability problem’ because she was too perfect at a time in the morning when people were still getting ready for the day.
One colleague supposedly told Couric that ‘with Deborah, people feel like they need to get dressed before they turn on the TV’.
Couric admits that during her time at TODAY she was unwelcoming to other women because she felt like she needed to ‘protect my turf.’
She writes that she was aware that ‘someone younger and cuter was always around the corner’ and singles out Banfield as an example.
Couric writes: ‘For a minute there, Ashleigh Banfield was the next big thing; I’d heard her father was telling anyone who’d listen that she was going to replace me. In that environment, mentorship sometimes felt like self-sabotage.’
Among the celebrities that Couric takes potshots at are Prince Harry. She recalled that the smell of cigarettes and alcohol seemed to ‘ooze from every pore’ in his body
Couric’s book is over 500 pages in length and she tears into former colleagues at NBC and CBS. She’s pictured in 1992 with her colleagues on the TODAY Show. Left to right: Gene Shalit, Bryant Gumbel, Deborah Norville. Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs, Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, Willard Scott, Tom Brokaw
She had little affection for Martha Stewart and at an awards ceremony in 1996 Couric roasted her with a snarky poem which said that ‘anything I can do you (Stewart) can do better.’
Stewart was unamused and Couric writes that it took a ‘some healthy humbling (prison will do that . . .) to develop a sense of humor.’
Among the celebrities that Couric takes potshots at are Prince Harry, who she met at a polo match in Brazil during his ‘wild-oats sowing phase.’
She recalled that the smell of cigarettes and alcohol seemed to ‘ooze from every pore’ in his body.
Couric left Joan Rivers so angry after asking if she had plastic surgery on her short-lived talk show ‘Katie’ that they never spoke again.
Backstage, Rivers said of Couric: ‘Who does she think she is? She’s on her knees blowing 14-year-olds’, referring to Brooks Perlin, her much-younger boyfriend.
MIXING WITH THE NOTORIOUS
Couric was among those who attended the infamous 2010 dinner at Jeffrey Epstein’s house when Prince Andrew was also there.
She describes Epstein’s $75million New York townhouse as ‘Eyes Wide Shut with a twist – creepy chandeliers and body-part art’.
Guests ate lasagna out of shallow bowls and Epstein ‘held court’ in front of the fireplace to the likes of Chelsea Handler and Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Rose.
On the way home Perlin remarked how young the women were who took their coats.
Couric writes: ‘I couldn’t imagine what Epstein and Andrew were up to, apart from trying to cultivate friends in the media. Which, in retrospect, they must have figured they’d need when the pedophilia charges started rolling in.’
While Couric writes emotionally about the death of her first husband Jay Monahan from cancer, she also admits that her fame drove a wedge between them.
Couric’s celebrity status ‘took up residence in our marriage like an overbearing houseguest’, as she describes it, and claims that the bigger she got, the smaller Monahan felt.
Couric calls her relationship with Brooks Perlin as something that ‘screamed midlife crisis’ and that she was ‘rebelling’ because she had never done anything ‘particularly scandalous.’
That rebellion sometimes went too far, like the night she drank so much she ended up in hospital on an IV drip – which she kept top secret, worrying that it would lead to headlines in the New York press like: ‘Anchor hits Rock Bottom!’
Couric writes that she regrets moving Perlin into her home without asking daughters so they had to deal with a 30-something guy walking around shirtless
The relationship led to ‘distance’ between her parents and her children which Couric also regrets.
Couric writes emotionally about the death of her first husband Jay Monahan (pictured) from cancer and admits that her fame drove a wedge between them
Her relationship with Tom Werner ended when he dumped her by email and Couric brands him a ‘textbook narcissist’ who ‘love bombed her’ with flowers and gifts
Couric is just as blunt about her love life and says ex-boyfriend Brooks Perlin, who was 17 years her junior, was a ‘mid-life crisis. Pictured together in 2007
‘Going There’ describes a bizarre 15 minute date Couric went on with Michael Jackson whose hand felt like a ‘dead fish’ when she shook it.
Her relationship with Tom Werner ended when he dumped her by email and Couric brands him a ‘textbook narcissist’ who ‘love bombed her’ with flowers and gifts.
In her 20s Couric went on a date with Neil Simon, the late playwright who was 30 years her senior.
They got back to his hotel, kissed and he had to stop because of his ‘blood pressure medication’ – Couric does not clarify what the exact condition was.
Around the same age Couric went for dinner at an Italian restaurant with Larry King, even though he was 24 years older than her.
Afterwards they went back to King’s apartment where Couric described him making a ‘lunge’ for her on the sofa with his tongue and his hands.
She pushed him off and a dejected King said: ‘When I like, I really like’.
After leaving TODAY Couric joined CBS to host the Evening News and do special reports for 60 Minutes on a salary of $15million a year, making her the highest paid journalist in the world.
It was a disastrous move and Couric describes how staffers felt she was an ‘existential threat’ to their existence.
Couric admits to making a number of ‘unforced errors’ such as giving her office a glam makeover which was out of step with the unfussy culture at CBS.
As CBS executives began talking publicly and privately against her, Couric writes that she suffered ‘internal sabotage’.
The book has sparked outrage among people who have read it and one said that it ‘should be called Burning Bridges by Catty Couric’. She will ‘never get a job at any television network or cable channel ever again because she attacks everyone,’ one critic said
Couric claims she was in an ‘unwinnable’ situation and her team ‘thought we’d be greeted as liberators; instead we got an insurgency’.
Things got so bad that Couric felt ’embattled, defensive, misunderstood. I guess you could say I was feeling like Hillary Clinton.’
In 2011 Couric left CBS and felt that she ‘never really belonged here’ because ‘the body had rejected the organ early on’.
While Couric takes aim at numerous people in ‘Going There’, she does offer some moments of self analysis.
When she joined TODAY, Couric announced to Monahan, her husband at the time: ‘I used to want to be the most popular girl in school. Now I’m the most popular girl in the country’.
Monahan called her ‘gross’ and hit her with a pillow.
After being dumped by Tom Werner, Couric went to a therapist who asked her if she had ever considered the idea that not everyone was going to like her.
Couric writes: ‘Honestly I sort of hadn’t’.