Four years ago, CBS chief Les Moonves went out of his way to praise Katie Couric even as her ratings continued to decline. Couric, he told a staff meeting in New York, "is my anchor today, tomorrow and in the future." He insisted that he was "proud" of her and that the network was "lucky to have her." But bringing in Couric to anchor the CBS Evening News -- at a reported salary of $15 million a year -- proved to be one of the network's rare programming missteps. Two years later Moonves was remarking that "there is nothing that Katie Couric is saying that everybody doesn't already know." And, he added during a talk at the University of Texas at the time, "The Katie Couric deal will be the last big deal of that kind ever done." On Wednesday, Moonves told an investors conference in Beverly Hills, "The status of CBS News right now is much higher than it was two or three years ago, Scott Pelley's ratings are up significantly from his predecessor's, whose name I will not mention." Couric on Monday launched a new syndicated afternoon talk show for ABC.