In recent weeks, as talk of Katie Couric’s perhaps-imminent departure from the anchor chair at CBS Evening News has multiplied, Scott Pelley’s name has come up again and again in discussions about who would replace her. He’s a staple of the network’s popular-with-old-people franchise 60 Minutes, where he’s made a name for himself doing confrontational exposés on fraud, corruption, and other human wrongdoing. Before that he served as a war correspondent and later a White House correspondent — where he interviewed U.S. and foreign presidents (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad famously asked him if he was a CIA operative). He even reported from the World Trade Center as Tower One collapsed on September 11, 2001. According to TMZ, 53-year-old Pelley is a favorite of CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, who came on board in February — apparently on the condition that he could choose any successor to Couric.
CBS corporate boss Les Moonves isn’t as sold on Pelley as Fager is, but the gossip website reports that there isn’t really a second choice yet. (When the AP reported Couric’s decision to leave, it also listed the Early Show’s Harry Smith and Evening News weekend anchor Russ Mitchell as potential replacements.) Katie, meanwhile, seems to have a future at CBS if she wants it — TMZ claims that the network is sold on the idea of her doing a syndicated talk show and hopes to keep her on board.