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Katie in the Morning

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2006

I'm in the morning's meeting room, where the air conditioning is blowing hard; breakfast was a variety of egg dishes, tied to a publicity push CBS plans that involves putting promos on eggs. Really.

I've had my eggs, chatted with colleagues and am now waiting for the arrival of Katie Couric. The room is filling up pretty quickly; Katie's a must-see -- and a must-file -- for just about everyone here.

The room is full now, 15 minutes after the press conference was supposed to start, and still no Katie.

And herrrrrrrrreeeeeee she is. She's gotten really blonde. (The delay is blamed on the omelet-making setting off the fire alarm. Don't think so.) CBS News President Sean McManus says he feels ''really good'' and that the broadcast will be ''intelligent, relevant and transparent.'' Also new and fresh.

Later: Couric and McManus -- mostly Couric -- have been taking questions for about an hour, extending past the schedule end long enough to make up for the late start. There have been some microphone fights -- multiple reporters with mikes, each shouting over the other to get a question in, especially as time began to run out. But I have seen much worse than these. (I've even been in a couple.)

Not a lot of news from the stage. They're being deliberately vague about what the newscast will be like on Sept. 5, partly for competitive reasons -- partly to make us want to see the telecast itself. And Couric ducked a question about how she felt about Dan Rather's departure, saying she wasn't involved in the situation.

One reporter asked a question about her planned wardrobe -- trying to preface it with a note about Rather's sweater period, so the question didn't seem sexist. No answer, though, but a more interesting one may be coming from another corner; McManus said Charlie Gibson wouldn't get asked that question, and the reporter promised to ask it when Gibson is here later in the tour.

Press conference is done. The scrum of reporters around Couric is sizable -- couple of dozen people.

More later.

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