MELA'S PAL Couric CBS News has gone to great lengths to counter Katie Couric's growing reputation as a "mercurial diva" who sends underlings scurrying at the sound of her "peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels," as the New York Times famously put it. But it appears that Couric's royal sense of entitlement has filtered farther down the ranks of her retinue than anyone could have expected: Even her hairdresser has become known at the network as a bullying prima donna.
Mela Murphy, CBS News's keeper of Couric's coif, pitched a full-fledged fit last week when she learned that she would be flying coach—coach!—on Couric's much-ballyhooed first international foray as anchor to cover President Bush's summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan. Because the trip was hastily arranged, only one business-class seat could be procured—for Couric, naturally—while the remaining 10 or so staffers, including CBS Evening News executive producer Rome Hartman, were slated to fly like normal people.
Thing is, Katie Couric's stylist is not a normal person. "Murphy went to the foreign desk," which was responsible for booking the trip, a television insider says, "and screamed at people about how outrageous and incompetent this was. She threatened that heads were going to roll."