Host's focus shifting to Yahoo deal after failing to connect with daytime auds
Katie Couric’s daytime talkshow will not make it to a third season.
Disney-ABC Domestic TV and Couric have agreed to end the show after the current season. “Katie” will remain in production through mid-June, with reruns airing on its affiliate stations through September.
Couric and Disney-ABC confirmed the move in a statement: “While production will continue on ‘Katie’ through June 2014, we’ve mutually agreed that there will not be a third season of the show. We’re very proud of everyone’s contributions to making ‘Katie’ the No. 1 new syndicated talk show of 2012-2013, and we look forward to the rest of the season.”
The writing was on the wall for the show in November when Couric opted to end her contract with ABC News early and relocate to Yahoo. As of January, Couric is set to have a prime berth on Internet giant as its “global anchor” hosting a regular newsmaker interview program as well as delivering a range of other content.
“Katie” has been a rocky road for Couric from the start. Couric and Disney had hoped she would be a successor to Oprah Winfrey with a high-end topical talker. Couric was looking to make a big change too after five years as anchor of “The CBS Evening News.”
But the show went through a number of behind-the-scenes changes with producers and exec producers. Jeff Zucker, the producer who helped make her a star on “Today” in the 1990s and guided her through the maze of setting her talkshow deal in 2011, left a few months into “Katie’s” first season to become president of CNN.
And by many accounts, Couric struggled to adapt her reporting/interviewing style to a daytime format that was very different from her past ayem experience on “Today,” with its ever-changing segments and broader team of personalities.
Ratings for “Katie” were credible by the low standards of daytime syndication these days, but she also was fortified by having landed prime time periods on Big Three affil stations, meaning that her stations were expecting bigger numbers than Couric was able to deliver. And “Katie” was expensive to produce by the standards of other daytime syndie fare, largely because Couric commanded a rich contract from Disney-ABC on the heels of her leaving CBS in 2011.
Disney’s syndie arm was under some pressure to make a call on a third season for Couric sooner rather than later in order to give station affiliates enough time to shop for a replacement show for fall 2014. ABC’s O&O stations in particular saw tough year-to-year declines with Couric’s show in the 3 p.m. timeslot leading into local news. At least some of ABC’s eight stations are expected to fill Couric’s gap with more newscasts.
In addition to setting up shop at Yahoo, Couric is headed to Park City next month. She’s exec producer with Laurie David of the docu “Fed Up,” about the obesity crisis, which is in competition at Sundance.