Katie Couric, the beloved anchor for CBS Evening News for the last five years, is departing when her contract ends this month…but she won’t be going very far. Fans need only switch channels and times to tune in to her new talk show which is set to air on competing network ABC in September 2012.In describing her new show, Couric recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “I think we’d like the show to be topical and to really capture the zeitgeist of what people are talking about. It will be serious at times, obviously informative, and fun. Really a mixture of things we hope people will be interested in. It’s not going to be a news show, but we’ll be talking about the news and issues I think people care about.”
The ink is barely dry on the deal but one thing seems certain. The show will include a studio audience and be mostly live. Couric will have the chance to really interact with her audience and delve into issues. So why leave nightly news for daytime chatter? Well for one, Couric is no stranger to daytime’s style and she will be rejoining her longtime former Today show producer and former NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker on this new venture. Couric and Zucker worked side by side making the Today show a morning success and hope to do the same on this new venture which they will both produce and own. It’s clear that ABC believes Couric has the star power to fill the mid-afternoon slot (her show is currently scheduled for 3pm). Some even believe Couric’s show couldn’t have come at a better time with the post Oprah void daytime viewers will be feeling across the board and the recent cancellation of ABC’s long-running soap operas. The question is, can Couric deliver?
If her more than 23 year career in television is any indication- from her early days as a correspondent to the Pentagon, to her time at 60 Minutes, to her recent coverage of the Royal Wedding- I’d say ABC has made a good bet. In the meantime, Couric has a year to nail down her new show’s format… and maybe even kick back and relax! And speaking of 60 Minutes, long-time correspondent Scott Pelley is the frontrunner to fill Couric’s shoes at CBS. It seems both networks time slots will be in good hands.