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Katie Couric launches weekly Web show on Yahoo

April 25, 2012 |  4:46 pm

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."


AOL launches a network of lifestyle video channels

Changing TV habits take center stage at digital media presentation

Internet advertising hits record $31 billion

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

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