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Picky Picky (Vol. 12)

Anderson Cooper, Chris Wallace, Harry Smith and Scott Pelley

Now widely perceived as a lame duck, Katie Couric and her CBS Evening News recorded their lowest viewership ever -- 5.39 million -- last week.

So who should be the inevitable replacement? And let's be realistic. After recent corporate-mandated layoffs at its owned-and-operated stations (including CBS11 in D-FW), the network isn't about to break the bank in naming a replacement. Couric reportedly is making $15 million a year. Divide that salary by at least three -- or maybe as much as five -- and we've got a workable number.

Unclebarky.com already has singled out former WFAA8 and NBC5 reporter Scott Pelley as a worthy and workable replacement. At age 50, he's been around the block at CBS News, reporting from abroad, from the White House and from his current perch at 60 Minutes.

Other names have been floated, though, and we're adding four others to this mix as conversation-starters.

Anderson Cooper, the youngest at age 40, has been CNN's fair-haired journalist for several years now. But does he truly have star quality? Or would CNN colleague John King, 43, this field's biggest dark horse, be a sturdier, better choice?

Harry Smith, 56, has been toiling on CBS' ratings-starved early morning show since 2002. He also had an earlier stint from 1987-'96. Likeable but hardly dynamic, he'd at least be a comfortable and probably reassuring presence in the Evening News "Chair."

Chris Wallace, 60, and current host of Fox News Sunday, has also had tours with NBC and ABC, which he left to join Fox in 2003. But he's never worked at the same network as his legendary father, Mike. Would now be the right time? And would he be a good fit?

Other names might well occur to you, but here are our starting points:

A. Scott Pelley
B. Anderson Cooper (or John King)
C. Harry Smith
D. Chris Wallace