As Katie Couric prepares to fill the Oprah vacuum in the 4 o’clock afternoon TV time slot -with her new one-hour talk show “Katie” that premieres September 10 on ABC - the networking is pulling out all the stops with Olympic-sized marketing of the show. For instance, ABC’s “Good Morning America” stated Aug. 8 how the 55-year-old Katie is currently preparing for the show while “dealing with menopause” as the star explained in a recent Good Housekeeping magazine interview. The New York Times reported back in June that Couric signed “a record $40 million contract,” for hosting a new daytime talk show “for its Disney-ABC Domestic Television arm” that would debut with the first episode on September 10. In turn, the Times noted that during Couric’s tenure as the host of the CBS Evening News, she “was compensated $15 million dollars per year.”
Sarah Palin could be Katie’s first guest
It was back in 2008 that Katie Couric conducted a series of interviews with the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin that eventually earned Couric the “Walter Cronkite Award for Journalism Excellence” for her probing interview that exposed Palin as not ready for the job of vice president. In turn, Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s senior campaign strategist and advisor, later reflected in an interview, saying: “I think it was the most consequential interview from a negative perspective that a candidate for national office has gone through.”
Thus, there’s now speculation that Couric will need Palin on her new “Katie” talk show to compete with the likes of “Ellen” and “Judge Judy” in the same primetime afternoon time slot.
In turn, Palin continues to speak ill of Couric who embarrassed her during Palin's 2008 run for the White House. Still, with Palin now a Fox Network talk show host herself; she may consider the media buzz if she goes toe-to-toe with Couric again on this new "Katie" TV program.
Couric wants to do deep with her new show
The Baltimore Sun newspaper reported an interview with Couric Aug. 1 stating: “I think there's an opportunity for a deeper conversation about a lot of things that happen in the news, and I think this show will provide an outlet for that.”
Thus, Couric thinks America is ready for more Oprah-styled TV talk show and less fun and games as featured on TV’s “Ellen,” or less reality show nonsense as the aging “Judge Judy” dishes out on daytime TV.
“The biggest opportunity for Katie is that since Oprah has left the airwaves, no one has filled that void for a smart, informative women’s TV kind of show,” explained Bill Hooper, general manager at WMAR TV in Baltimore.
“There’s nothing wrong with ‘Ellen’ or the other 4 o’clock shows, but no one has really come up with that same kind of [Oprah] formula,” Hooper added in the Baltimore Sun report; while also stating that he think’s “you’ll ever see another Oprah again. But we do think, No. 1, there’s a void there. And No. 2, she just has such huge name recognition and she was so popular on the ‘Today’ show, that if she comes back in that fun fashion and that personality shows through, which she wasn’t able to do on the ‘CBS Evening News,’ she could be successful leading right into the news for us.”
In turn, the story noted how “viewers benefit when the competition reaches this level and performers like Couric join the fray. But in the end, the larger cultural story might be that void Oprah left behind - and the fact that the TV industry still has not found a way to give viewers what she did.”
“Katie” has Couric’s experience behind this new show
Katherine “Katie” Anne Couric, 55, is no spring chicken in a TV and media world that adores youth and sexual presence. For instance, look what happened to poor old Ann Curry on NBC’s “Today” after Couric’s old partner Matt Lauer wanted younger blondes by his side, said a TV critic about the distasteful quick exit of Curry who, like Couric, is middle-aged and fighting such health and aging woes as menopause.
In fact, Couric is best remembered as the co-host of the former top-rated Today show from 1991 until late 2006 when earning a record $14 million for each year for the last four years of her contract.
Couric was then hired by CBS in late 2006 to anchor the evening news after CBS booted Dan Rather for questioning if President George W. Bush ducked his Vietnam era service in the Texas National Guard. In turn, Couric wasn’t able to bring in the ratings for the CBS News program and ended her run as a primetime news anchor.
At the same time, Couric’s real claim to TV fame came after the death of her husband Jay to colon cancer in 1998. As one way to find healing, Couric received a colonoscopy on live television in March 2000; while also releasing highly personal photos of her mammogram on TV.
Couric replaces Robin Roberts while ill
Couric has already tested the waters for her return to TV by recently stepping in as co-host of ABC “Good Morning America” in the wake of Robin Roberts being forced to take medical leave after Roberts was diagnosed with the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome.
In turn, "Katie" will also be broadcast live from New York City in front of a studio audience and will be executive-produced by Couric and longtime colleague Jeff Zucker, reuniting one of television's most successful partnerships, stated a recent comcast.net promotion event for the show that claims "Katie" will get to the heart of what matters most to viewers by offering “timely and topical, the show will include powerful segments and thoughtful interviews with newsmakers, celebrities and everyday people who have extraordinary stories to tell.”
Also, the recent gathering of TV critics in Los Angeles - to promote the new “Katie” talk show - featured the introduction of the show’s theme song entitled "This Day," performed especially for the show by Grammy-winning artist Sheryl Crow.
Crow said: "Katie is somebody I can talk to about the things so many of us juggle: our children, careers, health, and balancing our personal and professional lives. Plus she is really fun! I think her show will reflect the same kind of heart and energy I try to give my music, so 'This Day' was a fun project to work on together, as friends."
Couric wants to spotlight women doing good things
Also, Couric told the TV critics how “this franchise we will be able to spotlight women doing remarkable things.”
"Katie" will also focus on topics including parenting to pop culture, aging to activism, sex to celebrity, and the series will dedicate segments to the worlds of family, fashion, entertainment and technology and explore how they impact our day-to-day lives, states an overview for the show.
At the same time, Couric told the media that travel for her new job is being decided on a story-by-story basis. "If something like Katrina, God forbid, happens, of course I would cover it. At my very core, I'm a reporter," she says. What she won't be doing at age 55 is what she calls "parachuting" on a breaking story - dropping into a hot spot and upstaging the in-place correspondents just to garner ratings. "I want to make sure that when I do travel, it's for the right reasons,” she added in a Good Housekeeping magazine interview.
In addition, Couric told TV critics last month in Los Angeles that, “I think one of the exciting things about me doing this show is I’m going to be able to flex my muscles,” while pointing out that she has experience in TV news for 33 years now.
“I’d like to star in a Broadway musical, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. In my high school musical I was cast as a deaf-mute - that’s a true story. When I objected, the director then gave me a role of a dancing bear. I’d like to go out with George Clooney, if you can arrange that. I’ve never jumped out of an airplane - I’m afraid of heights - but I’d like to do that. But I have no desire to bungee jump,” said Couric of her new talk show “Katie” that debuts Sept. 10 on ABC in the afternoon time slot.
Image source of Katie Couric who at age 55 is still single; while raising two daughters Ellie and Caroline and now starting a new daytime talk show titled “Katie” that earns her $40 million per year. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Couric