Katie Couric to leave CBS Evening News after 5 years

First solo female anchor unable to pull CBS broadcast out of last place.

April 26, 2011— -- Katie Couric, the first solo female anchor of a network evening news broadcast, will step down in June after five years behind the anchor desk at CBS News without improving on the show's cellar-dwelling ratings, she confirmed today to People.com.

Couric reportedly will announce her departure on air following this week's coverage from London of the royal wedding. She is slated to stay at the helm of the "Evening News" through May.

"I have decided to step down from the CBS 'Evening News,'" Couric told People.

"I'm really proud of the talented team on the CBS 'Evening News' and the award-winning work we've been able to do in the past five years in addition to the reporting I've done for '60 Minutes' and CBS 'Sunday Morning,'" she said. "In making the decision to move on, I know the Evening News will be in great hands, but I am excited about the future."

"60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley is reportedly the top choice to replace Couric as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" when her contract expires June 4. The network reportedly wanted to give both journalists and the show's staff the month of May to transition.

Couric, 54, joined the last-placed broadcast in 2006 after a 15-year run as co-host of morning news powerhouse, NBC's "Today."

Rumors of Couric's departure have circulated for months. Though refusing to acknowledge her departure outright, in recent weeks Couric has hinted she would be moving on and has blamed the show's poor ratings on the little-watched local news programs that precede "Evening News."

In early April, Couric told the New York Times she had been "discussing the possibilities" of hosting a daytime talk show produced by former NBC executive Jeff Zucker. She has reportedly been in talks with both NBC and ABC and may continue to contribute to "60 Minutes."

"I am looking at a format that will allow me to engage in more multi-dimensional storytelling," she told People, adding that the details of any new show are "still being discussed."

In 2008 and 2009 "Evening News" won the Edward R. Murrow award for best newscast. In 2008, Couric conducted what was perhaps the most famous interview of that year's presidential election, questioning a sometimes startled seeming Sarah Palin, then governor of Alaska and Sen. John McCain's running mate.

Couric was the first network anchor to interview Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the hero pilot who safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January 2009.

In recent weeks Couric has been promoting a new book, "The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives."