Disney-ABC Domestic Television has formally renewed Katie Couric‘s freshman syndicated talk show Katie for a second season. The show has been renewed on its existing stations in over 95% of the country, including the ABC Owned station group, which already had a two-year deal for Katie. For the 19th straight week since its premiere (through the week of January 14, 2013), Katie continues to rank as the top freshman syndicated talker in Households, total viewers and women 25-54. Among all 18 syndicated talkers, Katie is No. 6 in households (1.9 rating), Total Viewers (2.497 million) and Women 25-54 (1.0 rating). On January 24, Couric’s first on-camera interview with Manti Te’o and his parents (2.6/7) jumped 30% over the show’s prior 4-week average. Katie joins fellow freshmen Steve Harvey, Trisha Goddard and Dish Nation, which also have been renewed for a second season. The formal greenlight for Katie comes days after original executive producer Jeff Zucker left to run CNN (He retains ownership in the show). Couric now executive produces the show with Michael Morrison, who joined late last month. Co-executive producers are Kathy Samuels and Michael Bass.
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 …
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.
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.
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 that Katie 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).
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, …
UPDATE, 12 PM: The numbers for all of yesterday’s daytime syndicated talk shows are in. Not surprisingly, the 10th-season premiere of Ellen featuring guests Patrick Dempsey, Pink and the Fierce Five, came up on top with a 3.0 household rating/8 share in the metered markets, 50% time period improvement vs. last year, and a 2.2/12 in women 25-54, the highest-ever demo number for an Ellen season premiere. Kelly & Michael (2.9 HH, 1.7 W25-54) was second, followed by the fourth-season premiere of Dr. Oz (2.8, 1.6) and Katie (2.8, 1.6). Dr. Oz was No. 1 in cumed household ratings. Ricki Lake (0.8, 0.4) was dead last among all new and returning talk shows, with Jeff Probst (1.0, 0.7) doing only a little better. Yesterday’s rankings should carry an asterisk as top talk show Dr. Phil was a repeat and will launch its new season today.
PREVIOUS 8 AM: Katie Couric‘s new syndicated talk show Katie got off to a strong start yesterday with a 2.8 household rating/8 share in the 56 U.S. metered markets to lead the pack of new daytime talk shows by a large margin. It equaled the highest daytime talk show opener in the last decade, Rachael Ray, in 2006 (2.8), the best premiere since Dr. Phil‘s 5.2 rating in September 2002. Katie, which featured guest Jessica Simpson, built on its lead-in by 12% and improved its time period year-to-year by 22%. (The show replaced soap General Hospital in about half of the country, with the soap now serving as its lead-in.)
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The cast and executive producer of the ABC soap General Hospital appeared before critics this morning at TCA, looking and sounding like people thrilled simply to still have jobs. The fate of most of their cohorts on One Life To Live and All My Children weren’t so lucky, with only a few of the cast members — and producer Frank Valentini — absorbed into GH. It was touch-and-go whether even General Hospital would survive the ax. But it’s back, and as Valentini said, the fact a panel for the show was arranged shows a certain support for the show going forward. “They invited us here, and to me that’s a great sign,” he noted. “They’re behind this 100% and very excited about the 50th anniversary coming up. I’m pretty confident. You just need to watch the show to sort of catch the energy and the momentum that we have, and the network’s a big part of that.” One of the challenges for the show going forward is that it’s being displaced from its longtime 3 PM perch by Katie Couric’s new syndie talk show Katie. But Valentini did his best to put a positive spin on things, calling the time slot change “great” in that it will “shake up the lineup a little bit. And the network is doing a big push to inform the audience about the change.”
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.”
Related: TV Teaser: Katie Couric’s ‘Katie’