Katie Couric Could Land Talk Show If CBS Doesn’t Pan Out

by | December 16, 2010 at 2:52 PM | TV News

Katie Couric (Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Katie Couric (Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)


What about Katie Couric as a daytime talk-show host? Well, in next season’s post-Oprah Winfrey daytime landscape, anything is possible.

A story in one of the TV biz’s most respected trades – Broadcasting & Cable – cites “several sources” all telling the mag that “multiple” syndicators are pursuing Couric for a possible daytime show, now that her contract as anchor of “The CBS Evening News” expires in May. Her current deal reportedly pays her $15 million annually.

There’s no indication she won’t just re-sign with CBS. And the story quotes her PR rep insisting that Katie is “very happy” at CBS.

Still, syndicators wouldn’t be putting out feelers if they felt they had no chance of getting her to at least listen to what they have to offer. In addition, it’s certainly possible that Katie’s own reps are seeking options for her future, just in case a contract renewal at CBS doesn’t pan out. If this whole idea sounds familiar, it’s because the idea of a Katie Couric daytime show is one that seems to reappear every couple of years, and she hasn’t taken the bait yet.

The B&C story notes that, with “The Oprah Winfrey Show” leaving the daytime scene, the 4-5 p.m. (3-4c) hour that leads in to local news – one of daytime’s most important time slots – is opening up for the first time in years. Already, CNN’s Anderson Cooper has locked up the slot in several cities for his upcoming syndicated talk show, titled just “Anderson.”

Interestingly, one expert quoted in the story says Couric’s viability as a talk-show host depends, at least in part, on how Cooper performs in the role. If “Anderson” flops, the expert says, “stations won’t want to try another news person.”

Of course, questions remain about whether or not viewers will respond favorably to a Katie Couric talk show. For years, she was almost universally beloved as a co-host on NBC’s “The Today Show.” But more recently, as a prime-time news anchor, she’s become a lightning rod for strong opinion, both pro and con. For some reason, people either love her or strongly dislike her.

Whether they’ll like her well enough to watch her everyday in the afternoon is the biggest question. Just look at what happened to another beloved “Today Show” personality, Jane Pauley – who arguably was better liked in her heyday than Couric. Pauley tried launching a daytime talk show in 2004 and it was short-lived.

What do you think of Katie Couric as a daytime talk personality? Which side are you on: Pro-Katie or anti-Katie?