She may be last in network news ratings but Katie Couric was a champion at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Innovators fundraiser May 5.
Honored alongside Turner Broadcasting chairman-CEO Phil Kent at the St. Regis Hotel, Couric endured a hilarious “salute” by her former “Today” partner.
“Five of the happiest years of my career were with Katie Couric,” Matt Lauer began. “Unfortunately there were 10 years, but five of them were great.”
Lauer had received the same honor three years ago. “But it’s much more prestigious in the two years since,” he assured Couric, then wondered aloud, “Why does Katie Couric deserve this award? Seriously. I’m asking everybody.”
Lauer had his answer ready: She moves people “to tears, to action, to outrage” as he mentioned a post-Columbine interview, her live colonoscopy on morning TV and “two words: Sarah Palin. She has shown she can take a punch, weather a storm and do it with dignity.”
Eventually, Couric got her chance to respond: “If I’d known Matt was going to be so damned funny I never would have asked him.”
Among the guests, CNN stars Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer, who apparently read the same media playbook. When asked separately during cocktails about their network’s merger with CBS News, they had the same answer ready: “All that is beyond my pay grade!” To his credit, Cooper went a bit further. “It’s a non-answer,” he added. “But an obvious answer.”
Time Warner honcho Jeff Bewkes introduced Kent while museum chairman Herbert S. Schlosser presented Asprey travel clocks to the honorees.