Katie Couric officially is heading online with a Yahoo deal that had been rumored for months. The Web giant announced this morning the Couric will serve as global anchor beginning in 2014, working with “a growing team of global correspondents who will report on live world events, anchor groundbreaking interviews with major newsmakers and thought leaders, and much more.” Said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, “Katie’s depth of experience, her intellectual curiosity, and her charisma make her the perfect choice to anchor Yahoo News and the whole Yahoo Network.” Couric and Yahoo executives are still in the early stages of developing ideas for what the scope of her presence will be, with town hall meetings among a number of interactive possibilities. Why taking on an Internet gig? “I’ve done pretty much everything else in television up until now — I hosted the Today show, I anchored the CBS Evening News and I’ve done a syndicated show,” Couric told Deadline. “If you look at the next frontier where content is going and how people are consuming it, it is in the digital space.” Couric is not new to the space, having launched the @KatieCouric online interview show while at CBS News and utilizing Twitter and Facebook questions on her syndicated show. “I like the idea of unlimited real estate, doing interviews that are interesting to a global audience.”
By signing with Yahoo, Couric ended a few months early her agreement with ABC News, which was part of the Disney-ABC package for her syndicated talk show. Couric, who has done little for ABC News in the past year while working on her show, is not severing ties completely. “It is still a very symbiotic relationship,” she said. “As ABC News has said, it wouldn’t be surprising if they would utilize my content on their platform.” (ABC News has an online partnership with Yahoo.) A partnership that is not in the cards, at least for now — with CNN and Couric’s former producer Jeff Zucker. READ MORE »
ABC News was on the hook for a much smaller portion of Couric’s reported $20 million paycheck with the company than is the syndication operation, with which she has a deal for her daytime talk show Katie. The ABC News gig was seen by some as a vanity thing tacked to her talk show by those who have noted she’s not done much for ABC News in the past year. Anyway, it’s no longer the case that ABC News will be paying part of her paycheck.
“Katie is an incredible journalist and this was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up. Thanks to the powerful association between ABC News and Yahoo we know that Katie will continue to work closely with us and welcome her on our air anytime,” an ABC News exec with knowledge of the situation told Deadline. Yes, it sounded pretty don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out to us too.
Couric’s talk show is now in its second — and, it’s been widely speculated for some time, final — season, though syndication axes don’t generally fall until after all November sweep stats are in. The show has been plagued with exec producer changes and shifts in direction since its initial good launch, and station execs are not happy with the product. Most expect the show to end its run after fulfilling its two-year commitment with the ABC Stations in May. There had been speculation that ABC might try to get another year at a lower price while preparing a replacement, but that does not appear likely. Read More »
Stephen Colbert,John Lithgow, and Katie Couric demonstrated how Today could have improved on the ratings performance of its on-air prostate exam with Steven Colbert’s November Sweeps Prostacular. “It’s no accident Today played this groundbreaking stunt during the November sweep, because Today show knows what brings in the great ratings is men in their 50′s being finger puppeted,” Colbert explained on last night’s The Colbert Report, adding, “I will not be sweeps-swept by the Today show.” Watch here: Read More »
A Barbara Walters denial — the next best thing to confirmation when reporting about The View? Having stated she was not retiring — not so long before announcing she was — and having emphatically denied a report Elisabeth Hasselbeck was leaving the show — Hasselbeck did — Walters has a slight credibility problem these days. Take this morning’s report that Katie Couric is mulling whether to replace Walters when she gives up her on-air chair on The View. Deadline reported Walters was retiring in May, just before ABC and Walters made the announcement; Walters had scoffed at earlier reports. Couric, who’s already made the move from evening news to daytime talk and is under contract at ABC parent Disney, could slip into the “serious journalist” role on The View and land in an environment more like that of Today, where she enjoyed ratings success, than her current program, which has slipped in the ratings. Disney is in second year of two-year contracts with stations to air Couric’s syndicated daytime talk show — though Katie airs on ABC O&Os in many major markets. Read More »
Look out Katie Couric — NBCUniversal announced today it’s launching a syndicated talker starring your most successful Today show replacement to date, Meredith Vieira. The Meredith Vieira Show will debut in fall 2014. Vieira recently shot the pilot for the new series; she had begun talks with NBCU for the project shortly after she announced in January she was leaving Disney’s syndicated game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after 11 years. Vieira, following in the footsteps of her Today predecessors Jane Pauley and Couric, is expected to do a lighter show than Pauley’s short-lived talker, or Couric’s current Disney syndicated show, playing off Vieira’s 11-year Millionaire run and her years air-traffic controlling on ABC’s gaggle show The View. No pickups were announced today, but the NBC station group has not committed to a new show to succeed freshman Jeff Probst, which did not get renewed, and may keep the 2 PM slot warm with temporary programming. Read More »
Katie Couric‘s syndicated daytime talk show will be entering its second season with an entirely new team of senior producers and a director. Two weeks after Rachel Miskowiec was brought in as new executive producer, she has made a staffing changes, with co-executive producers Kathy Samuels and Ethan Nelson as well as director Joseph Terry departing. Katie launched last fall with Jeff Zucker as executive producer and Samuels and Michael Bass as co-exec producers. Zucker and Bass have since left for CNN, with Michael Morrison and Nelson joining in January as executive producer and co-exec producer, respectively. (Matt Strauss also was bumped to co-EP then.) Morrison left late last month, replaced by Miskowiec, who is expected to install her own team.
Howard Stern got Katie Couric during his Sirius XM radio show to reveal that at some point there were “cautious overtures” from NBC about her returning to Today, where she spent 16 years. The morning show has had its share of troubles, from ratings declines to backlash over … Read More »
Jeff Zucker continues to staff up at his new CNN post, this time with a producer he’d already put in place at the Katie Couric talk show. Even though Zucker still retains ownership in Katie. A network insider confirms to … Read More »
The second “big get” interview in as many weeks has landed outside the broadcast networks’ news divisions, once the go-to place for most figures at the center of a controversy. Katie Couric will conduct the first on-camera … Read More »
I’ve learned that Disney-ABC Domestic Television is finalizing a deal with Michael Morrison to join Katie Couric‘s freshman talk show Katie as executive producer. I hear the hire will be announced to the staff of the show on Thursday. Morrison will take over showrunner responsibilities from departing executive producer Jeff Zucker, who co-owns the show with Couric. Morrison’s appointment allows continuity as Zucker is slated to leave for his new job as president of CNN Worldwide at the beginning of next month.
In anticipation of Zucker’s exit, Disney-ABC began quietly meeting with potential candidates to succeed Zucker at the helm of the show in October. When Zucker’s appointment at CNN was announced at the end of last month, the search accelerated and was quickly narrowed to several candidates with the goal to have someone in place by the end of the year. On Katie, Morrison joins Zucker’s lieutenants on the show: co-executive producers Michael Bass and Kathy Samuels. Read More »
Jeff Zucker could not have asked for better timing — on the morning his appointment as president of CNN Worldwide was announced, the latest ratings for his syndicated show Katie showed the talker hitting all-time highs. For the week of November 12, Katie Couric‘s daytime talk show drew a 2.1 household rating and 2.7 million viewers, its best weekly numbers ever and up 17% week-to-week in both categories. In women 25-54 (1.1 rating), Katie tied its best-ever weekly rating. Zucker and Couric co-own the show, on which Zucker has served as executive producer/showrunner. “I’m very excited that Jeff has such a wonderful opportunity at CNN and equally excited for CNN,” Couric said today. “I’m also grateful that Jeff has been so instrumental in getting our show off to such a strong start and look forward to working with the fantastic staff we’ve assembled and building on the strong foundation we’ve created.”
That staff includes Zucker’s lieutenants on the show: co-executive producers Michael Bass and Kathy Samuels. In anticipation of Zucker’s exit, Zucker, Couric and the company behind Katie, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, have been quietly meeting with potential candidates to succeed Zucker at the helm of the show. Now that Zucker’s departure is certain, the search is expected to pick up steam and the expectation is to have someone in place by the end of the year, providing a smooth transition as Zucker is slated to leave the show in early January. Read More »
I hear Disney-ABC has launched a search for top-level producer(s) to take the reins of Katie Couric‘s syndicated daytime talk show. The contingency plan is being put in place as speculation intensifies thatKatie executive producer Jeff Zucker would be leaving the freshman talker. I hear talks with potential candidates are under way, and a hire is expected within the next couple of weeks. Zucker has a major financial interest in Katie (some sources indicate he is poised to pocket $8 million from the $20 million guarantee to Couric and him), and is not likely to leave without a succession plan in place. But, having run one of the biggest media companies in the world, NBC Universal, he has been expected to jump back to the executive ranks. He currently has two lieutenants on the show: co-executive producers Michael Bass and Kathy Samuels.
There has been chatter about Zucker being courted for several top jobs, including CEO of Tribune, but attention has focused recently on the vacancy at CNN. With his strong news background, Zucker is considered a leading candidate to succeed CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton when he departs at the end of the year. Such timing would work for providing a smooth transition on Katie, which has a two-year deal with the ABC stations. (There are several other names bandied about for the CNN job including MSNBC head Phil Griffin and usual suspects David Westin, Andrew Heyward and Neal Shapiro). Read More »
Uh-oh. In its fourth airing on Thursday, Katie Couric’s new syndicated talk show dropped 26% in households to a 1.7/5 in the metered markets and 38% to a 0.8/5 in the key Women 25-54 demographic. In households, … Read More »
Katie Couric chose her words carefully in an interview with Good Housekeeping when asked about her experience at CBS while anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News. While proud of the work she did, Couric said … Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Katie Couric breezed through ABC’s morning presentation at TCA to hype her forthcoming syndicated daily daytime talk show Katie, disclosing that she already has invited famed former interview subject Sarah Palin to come on but has yet to hear back. Couric also has invited President Obama and Michelle Obama as well as Mitt and Ann Romney to the show, which premieres September 10.
Couric also detailed what she expects the show to be (she disclosed that Sheryl Crow wrote and performs the theme song) and that producer Jeff Zucker — long her boss during her years at the Today show — will be constantly in her ear during production. ”I’m really excited to be able to work with Jeff,” Couric said. “We had some great years on the Today show and have very similar sensibilities. We can finish each other’s sentences. And I know he’s got my back. I trust him implicitly. It givers me a great sense of security to have him here, to have someone in your ear whom you really trust.”
EXCLUSIVE: Another key member of the Katie Couric-Jeff Zucker team from the golden era of Today is joining them on Couric’s upcoming syndicated talk show. No, it’s not Matt Lauer, who recently re-upped his deal at the NBC morning … Read More »
Katie Couric will host a weekly web series as part of her overall deal with ABC News that will stream on a dedicated Yahoo page, ABC announced today. Topics on Katie’s Take will include health, nutrition, parenting and … Read More »