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Katie Couric's Career Advice: Negotiate!

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TV’s No. 1 network, CBS, showed off its newest stars – including Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, James Woods and, of course, Katie Couric – at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on Wednesday when it introduced its fall lineup.

Some highlights:
• To the delight of the audience of advertisers, Mariah Carey, who will star in a CBS special, took the stage looking slim and healthy in a black spaghetti-strap cocktail dress. She sang “We Belong Together,” ending with, “Thank you! See you in the fall!”

• In another musical number, the cast of the Tony-nominated Jersey Boys sang a modified version of “Big Girls Don’t Cry” called “Networks Don’t Cry,” in which the Boys crooned, “Up our sleeve is one more trick . Ka-tie Cour-ic!”

• New CBS Evening News anchor Couric hinted that her predecessor, Bob Schieffer, will still play a “visible” role on the show, and quipped, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.”

• Since CBS will air the Super Bowl, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning took the stage with his little brother, New York Giants QB Eli Manning. “People ask me who my parents are going to root for,” said Peyton, “and I say, ‘(Eli’s) the baby of the family – they’re going to pull for Eli.’ ” Added Eli, “We’ve never played against each other at any level, including Pee Wee.”

Friends creator David Crane unveiled his new sitcom, The Class, about a group of 20-somethings reuniting for the first time since third grade. Star Jason Ritter (John Ritter’s son), said, “This is the network where you don’t C-B-S. You see quality television” – and shrugged sheepishly when the joke bombed.

• Ray Liotta, making his series debut in the “Usual Suspects-meets-Ocean’s 11” drama Smith, introduced the show’s high-wattage cast, including Simon Baker, Amy Smart, Virginia Madsen, 24′s Shohreh Agadashloo and Angelina Jolie’s ex, Jonny Lee Miller. Quipped Liotta, “Trust me when I tell you that crime will pay.”

• Skeet Ulrich, who leads the cast of the new drama Jericho, about residents of a small Kansas town who see mysterious mushroom clouds in the distance, kept his comments succinct: “It’s a great show, a great team – thank you.” (The series will have a second storyline that will play out only online.)

• James Woods, stars of the new Brian Grazer and Ron Howard-produced drama Shark, pretended to get a call from his mother on his cell phone and poked fun at CBS honcho Les Moonves by telling his “mom”: “Yeah, the one I went to acting class with when I was 20 years old. Yes, he still can’t act, but he’s my boss now so I can’t tell him that.”