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Category: Katie Couric

Katie Couric launches weekly Web show on Yahoo

Katie Couric at Yahoo
Television news personality Katie Couric is a familiar fixture at the network upfront presentations to advertisers and media buyers.

But this week the former news anchor appeared, microphone in hand, at Yahoo's Digital Content NewFront presentation as the site announced the May 1 premiere of "Katie's Take," a weekly online show that will explore subjects such as health, nutrition, parenting and wellness.

The original Web show represents a deepening of Yahoo's partnership with ABC News. Together, the network news operation and Yahoo News garnered more than half of all news videos watched online last month, said Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo's executive vice president of global media.

"Katie's new show is representative of our focus on premium content -- and premium content on every screen," Levinsohn said. "I enjoy watching cats on skateboards as much as anybody. We're shooting a little higher than that."

The former CBS "Evening News" anchor also has a new syndicated talk show with Walt Disney Co. that premieres this fall.

Couric, camera operator in tow, struck a comedic tone on stage, describing herself as an experienced journalist "wearing slightly S&M shoes." She staged a mock interview of Levinsohn, in which she asked irreverent questions such as "What the hell is Yahoo?" and "Why are you so special?"

"Thank goodness you didn't ask me what I've read," deadpanned Levinsohn, in a reference to Couric's interview of 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. The line elicited laughter from about 600 people attending Yahoo's event.

Yahoo senior vice president Mickie Rosen said Yahoo's news service reaches 91 million Americans a month, more, she said, than such online competitors CNN and Fox News combined. ABC and Yahoo together plan to focus their coverage on the 2012 presidential election.

"When we dreamed up this together, we wanted to do something completely new," said ABC News President Ben Sherwood. "The thing I am most excited about is we're just getting started."

The new Couric show was part of a new slate of original programs. The creators of the Broadway show "Rock of Ages," Matthew Weaver and Chris D'Arienzo, will use Yahoo to launch a 1980s-themed jukebox musical about a big city kid who moves to a small town, tentatively titled "Dancing With Myself."

Actor Tom Hanks appeared, via video, to talk about his new, dark animated series on Yahoo, "Electric City," which is set in a post-apocalyptic world. CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker appeared on stage to screen his cybercrime series, "Cybergeddon."

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-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: Yahoo executive vice president Ross Levinsohn, left, and Katie Couric at Yahoo's Digital Content NewFront presentation. Credit: Yahoo

Katie Couric celebrates new ABC gig by going on NBC

Katie Couric celebrated her new job with Walt Disney Co. and ABC by going NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

COURIC Although Couric is scheduled to appear on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Tuesday, she spent Monday night with old NBC pal Leno.

Kimmel's show was in reruns Monday night, and an ABC insider said that her booking on Leno was set long before the ABC deal was announced.

That may be, but perhaps Couric could have pushed Leno back a few days and gone on Kimmel first as a sign of loyalty for her new bosses.

Couric was originally set to go on Leno's show several weeks ago to promote her new book, "The Best Advice I Ever Got." However, the death of Osama bin Laden led that appearance to be canceled.

Still, that Couric's camp would reschedule her Leno visit for June 6 -- a date that industry insiders have known for weeks was likely to be when ABC and Disney were going to announce that she had been hired to host a daily syndicated talk show and become a contributor to ABC -- is noteworthy.

Of course, Leno has a bigger audience than Kimmel, so perhaps the best advice Couric got was to go with the numbers and worry about burning bridges later.

-- Joe Flint

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Couric's deal puts cloud over "General Hospital"

Katie Couric announces new daytime talk show

Photo: Katie Couric. Credit Jason Reed / Reuters

Couric's deal with ABC puts cloud over 'General Hospital'

GENHOSPITAL

ABC's new deal with Katie Couric for a daytime talk show raises questions about the future of the network's long-running soap opera "General Hospital."

Although Couric's new show, which is set to premiere in fall 2012, is syndicated, ABC has already said it will put the program on at 3 p.m. on its own stations, which is the time many of them currently show "General Hospital."

That doesn't necessarily mean "General Hospital" is going to flat-line. It has a year or so to prove itself worthy of survival and earn a new home on the network's daytime schedule.

Earlier this year, ABC pulled the plug on the soaps "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" and is replacing them with chat shows "The Chew" and "The Revolution" this fall. When Couric's show debuts, something -- "The Chew," "Revolution" or "General Hospital" -- probably will have to be canceled to make room for her.

The odds that both "The Chew" and "The Revolution" will succeed are long. "General Hospital" could move into the time slot of whichever is weaker.

But if both do work, it could be "General Hospital" that is put to sleep.

An ABC spokeswoman said the Couric news does not automatically mean the end of "General Hospital." "There are many options that could happen ... the best way to ensure a favorite show stays on the air is to watch it," she said.

-- Joe Flint

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Katie Couric signs with ABC

Photo: ABC's "General Hospital." Credit: ABC

Katie Couric joins ABC News, announces plans for a daytime talk show

Five years after Katie Couric tried her hand at anchoring "CBS Evening News," the popular news personality is moving back to her comfort zone:  daytime TV.KatieCouric

Couric and the Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC television network on Monday announced a comprehensive deal that includes a high-profile role for Couric within the ABC News division and, beginning next year, the launch of a syndicated daytime talk show. 

Couric will produce the talk show along with her former "Today" show executive producer, former NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker. The pair spent more than a decade together building NBC's morning program into a ratings and profit juggernaut.

The move -- which had been expected -- affords Couric, 54, the same hallowed afternoon real estate that Oprah Winfrey is vacating, as well as the ability to continue to work as one of television's most recognizable journalists.

“I’m very happy to be returning to the network where I began my career as a desk assistant in 1979. It is tremendously exciting to have the creative freedom to develop my own show," said Couric in a statement. "I can’t wait to be part of this incredibly talented, visionary team.”

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger and ABC News President Ben Sherwood were interested in landing Couric to help strengthen the network's news bench, particularly as the network's queen of the interview, Barbara Walters, steps back a bit. 

Not only that, but also ABC's daytime schedule -- once a powerhouse -- has become problematic with the loss of Winfrey and, soon, two of its long-running soap operas, "One Life to Live" and "All My Children."

Couric's team had expected a spirited bidding war for a Couric-helmed talk show. But in the end it was ABC that expressed the most interest, and the network provided Couric with that extra cushion -- a plum role within its news division.  The deal, which had been in the works for several weeks, was announced on the day that Couric's five-year contract with CBS officially ended. 

Couric, whose prominence often overshadowed her duties on "CBS Evening News," has said that the 22-minute evening news format didn't play to her strengths or give her the room she needed to flash her high-wattage and playful personality. 

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Katie Couric is closing in on a deal with ABC for an afternoon talk show

-- Meg James

Photo: Katie Couric. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press

Katie Couric is closing in on a deal with ABC for an afternoon talk show

Katiesmile One of the most high-profile media courtships may soon be consummated: Katie Couric is closing in on a deal with Walt Disney Co.'s ABC to host an afternoon talk show.

Couric, who anchored the CBS Evening News for the last time Thursday night, would begin her new syndicated show in the fall of 2012, according to people familiar with the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly about them. 

Some of the major deal points have been hammered out, although there are still outstanding issues surrounding compensation. The agreement is not expected to be finalized for at least a week. Couric's contract with CBS ends June 6. 

CBS, which until a few weeks ago had also been vying to distribute Couric's proposed syndicated show, has the right to match any offer to Couric before her contract ends. The network has not yet waived that right, nor is it expected to make a counteroffer, said these people with knowledge of the situation.

Disney Chief Executive Robert A. Iger has been "very involved" in the deal, the people said. He has been particularly interested in bringing Couric to ABC, in part, to fill the programming void that will be created by the departure of the queen of daytime TV, Oprah Winfrey. Disney's ABC-owned stations carrry "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which will broadcast its last episode Wednesday.

"Speculation around Katie is exciting, but there is no new deal to announce," said Couric's spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik.

Joining her in the new venture would be Jeff Zucker, former chief executive of NBC Universal, who started working with Couric in the late 1980s when he was a producer with NBC's morning show, "Today."  Zucker is credited with building "Today" into a financial and ratings juggernaut, and his and Couric's career trajectories were closely tied for more than a decade.

The new Couric show is expected to cost about $40 million a year to produce, according to someone with knowledge of the proposed terms. Couric and Zucker would have an opportunity to participate in the profits of the show.

Couric raked in $15 million a year salary at the CBS Evening News, a lofty amount that was criticized at a time when CBS was paring its news operations. Despite the high salary and expectations, she failed to pull the newscast out of third place.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood has also been instrumental in the negotiations, but the ABC News organization's financial contribution will be relatively small, said another person familiar with the matter. The company's syndication arm would largely finance the production, which would be sold to other TV station groups.

Couric's team has long wanted to build a show that would reunite Couric and longtime "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer. There were internal discussions within Disney about whether to postpone the debut until 2013, when Lauer would be available.  His NBC contract expires in December 2012.

Inside Disney, the operation to land Couric has been code-named "Ginger," said a person with the knowledge of the matter. Executives quip about the importance of the pairing, joking that "Ginger" would need its "Fred" for the show to take off.

At a news conference last week after the announcement that Meredith Vieira will be leaving the "Today" show, Lauer did his best to dismiss rumors that he would soon be following Vieira out the door. "I have a long-term deal with NBC," Lauer said. "I'm gonna be here for a while."

 -- Dawn C. Chiemelewksi and Meg James

Photo: Katie Couric attends the 46th annual National Magazine Awards in May 2011. Credit: Charles Sykes /Associated Press.

 

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