No, Katie Couric didn’t suddenly lose 20 pounds.
The incoming “CBS Evening News” anchor appears significantly thinner in a network promotional magazine photo thanks to digital airbrushing.
The touched-up photo of Couric dressed in a striped business suit appears on the inside of the September issue of Watch! which is distributed at CBS stations and on American Airlines flights.
CBS News President Sean McManus said he was “obviously surprised and disappointed when I heard about it.”
The original picture was snapped in May and was widely circulated to the media as an official photo of Couric.
Couric, 49, said she hadn’t known about the digitally reworked version until she saw the issue. The former NBC “Today” show host told the Daily News, “I liked the first picture better because there’s more of me to love.”
Gil Schwartz, executive vice president of communications for CBS Corp., said Wednesday in a phone interview the photo alteration was done by someone in the CBS photo department who “got a little zealous.”
But he dismissed any notion of heads rolling over the matter.
“I talked to my photo department, we had a discussion about it,” Schwartz said. “I think photo understands this is not something we’d do in the future.”
He said the photo department “services tens of thousands of photographs every year” for all parts of the company and that it “does a fantastic job.”
“The article that accompanies the picture is very responsible, very interesting,” he added.
Schwartz said the magazine has a circulation of over 400,000.
While expressing regret, McManus tried to make light of the matter.
“I’ve asked that three inches in height be added to my official CBS photo,” he quipped to the News.
Couric debuts in the anchor’s chair Sept. 5. CBS has spent millions on marketing to prepare viewers for her arrival.