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The Katie Couric Interview: why the fascination with Katie's legs
Question: Why does this site devote so much space to Katie Couric's crossed legs? Why give them so much attention?
Athina Simonidou: It all started as a bit of fun. One morning our site designer was watching Katie Couric on tv, and noticed that Couric had this very short skirt. The camera focused as much on her tanned, smooth legs as it did on what she was saying and who she was talking to. And the designer thought, well, that's the point, Katie Couric's legs are the celebrity. To test his thesis she added a Katie Couric Fan Page to our website, and pretty soon we were getting more than 2 million hits a day.
Question: Do those millions of visitors look at other stuff?
Athina: Lots of visitors look at the sports pages. We have thousands of visitors looking for Sarah Palin news and photos. I'd say the interest at the moment is 50% Couric, 40% Palin, and 10% sports.
Question: Aren't you objectifying the body?
Athina: Yes, both the male and female body. And we only objectify in the way that IQ tests objectify the mind. All of this is done with a huge dose of irony.
What we are also doing in a not-so-obvious way is poking fun at the whole idea that celebrities are wonderfully interesting people.
Question: Can you explain this fascination with Katie Couric's smooth, oiled legs, with her shoes and dresses?
Athina: People are suckers for celebrity. If it's on tv it must be important, it must be special. Katie Couric's legs are the reason for her fame as much as her talents as a broadcast journalist.
Question: Is the focus on legs rather than news a good or bad thing?
Athina: We have no value judgment on the subject. The tv people are very clever. They know that men love women's legs. Many women love Katie, too.
Question: Are you fascinated by Katie Couric's legs?
Athina: I am fascinated by the blogosphere, by the collapse of traditional of publishing and broadcasting. We have as many readers as a big newspaper in a big city, which is neat.
Question: Doesn't this fascination with Katie Couric's legs detract from her qualities as a journalist and broadcaster?
Athina: Boring question, who cares? It's showbiz.
Question: What have you learned from the global interest in Katie Couric's legs?
Athina: When you run a successful website, you learn a lot about people's private tastes and preferences, which is all I need to say.
Katie Couric asks, "Are my legs that interesting?"
It's all about the legs and boots: Katie Couric with crossed legs and boots in front of a panel of men in suits. Couric's legs are her greatest asset.
The smile, the legs, the perkiness: that's Katie Couric
The Couric Grin: Not always a pretty sight
The Katie Couric gummy smile.
"That's an interesting point of view".
The Chicago Sun Times writes that Katie Couric's legs are "tanned and painstakingly arranged for sit-down interviews."
Katie Couric, the woman next door in boots, man!
Katie Couric: Legs, feet and shoes on show
CNN's Paula Zahn is one of Katie Couric's more serious rivals. Male viewers are eager to find out more about Paula Zahn's legs, which are longer than Katie's. George Bush the elder is said to have "drooled over" Paula Zahn's legs during an interview
The professional, the beautiful Paula Zahn of CNN
Katie Couric Interview Quotes
"No one asks about Dan Rather's legs." (unattributed)
"There is a certain comfort level and sort of sense of familiarity that comes with the morning program."
"I can't tell you how many people say they're on their treadmill when they watch the Today Show."
"I have always loved pretty shoes but not to walk in." (unattributed)
"I don't think it [national airtime] should be necessarily wasted, on people who don't deserve it, frankly."
"I enjoy writing little ditties. ... A book is tangible, not like an interview that goes off into the stratosphere."
On failing to land a plum part in a school play: "At first I was cast as a deaf-mute — if it's politically correct to say that — then ended as a dancing bear. But I wanted the lead, of course."
"I think I have something to share. I'm not trying to exploit my celebrity; I'm trying to be helpful."
On learning to skate: "Can I see you guys do it first? I need to see a woman do it."
"A good brain and good legs are an asset in this business if you're a woman. If you're a man, you need neither." (unattributed)
The hint of flesh and things forbidden
Athina Simonidou PHOTO GALLERY LINKS
3) Crossed Legs: Best X'd Legs on Earth
5) Strictly Sports: The Body Athletic
6) Men's Room
7) Ladies' Room
The ever-popular and desirable Katie Couric, host of the Today show
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"Katie Couric's legs" is by far the most popular search term for finding this page. Half a million hits a month!
Katie Couric signed a $65 millions deal to keep her legs on national television until 2006.
Katie Couric's legs are her trademark
Katie Couric: It's all about the legs, dude!
Katie is a member of a $7,500 a month gym. She shaves and oils her legs herself. Would you want that job?
"What do you think about the crisis in Bhutan?"
Kelly Ripa: Couric in the making?
Katie Couric: Vital Statistics
Name: Katherine Anne Couric
5 ft 1 in
Katie Couric Quotes
According to Salon.com, "Katie Couric does look great: a whole lot better than when she started on "Today" in 1990 at age 33. Back then she looked like a high-octane, rabbity gymnast; with her gummy grin and lesbian-soccer-mom haircut, she could have been airlifted straight out of the bulk paper goods aisle at Wal-Mart."
More Salon.com: "It was [Katie] Couric's astounding ordinariness that fueled her success."
Penultimate Salon.com: "A rep for NBC is denying that the "Today" show producers have been deliberately obscuring the view of Katie Couric's legs (by having her wear pants and photographing her behind plants) in light of recent criticism of its Couric gam-fixation in the New York Times: 'While I haven't had the time to research pant-to-skirt ratio in the past, I assure you that these allegations regarding Katie's legs are completely absurd. This is completely false.' Tunc.biz knows your game NBC,
Final thrust from Salon.com: "The perk makes her [Katie Couric] palatable, disguises her as unthreatening. The more she can frost her steely insides with a spun-sugar exterior, the more she can convince us that she is one of us, the more successful she becomes, the more she becomes an anomaly."
Says a media analyst: Katie Couric "is being inconsistent, and people don't like that. One day she's a sexpot, the next day she's a sophisticate, and that's not the Katie everyone fell in love with."
Says Forbes.com: "Industry sources assert that her [Katie Couric's] yearlong and very public contract negotiations with NBC have tarnished her all-American image, making her look greedy. Sources also bemoan her new, less wholesome persona, which includes glamorous, sophisticated and sometimes even vampy hair, makeup and clothes on the set.
Says Katie Couric of her own work: "When there is so much emphasis on ratings, it's hard for true journalism to survive."
Myrna Blyth writes: "We've all watched as Katie [Couric] has grown richer, smugger, and more chic. But for years, Today's chipmunk-cheeked, Clinton-loving, perkette sold women, the primary audience for the morning show's mélange of a little news and a lot of fluffy features, the notion that she is just like them: a harried working mom."
Myrna Blyth continues: "Each morning she [Katie Couric] is now expertly and heavily made up — not exactly the look most harried working moms can emulate. And while doing interviews, her bare legs in stiletto mules are perpetually center stage, getting more attention from the camera than the guest she is supposed to be interviewing."
A complainer on AOL wrote: "I don't want to see someone with bare legs and open toe shoes giving me the news. Why can't she [Katie Couric] look professional?"
Katie Couric: Her bare legs are perpetually center stage
Katie Couric at a Vanity Fair party
These legs are longer than Katie Couric is tall (Photograph reproduced courtesy of Stockingirl.com)