NATPE 2012

Katie Couric: Talk Show Is Job No. 1

At NATPE, she and Jeff Zucker emphasize their desire to do everything that’s needed to promote their new syndicated talk show, including working with stations across the country.

Katie Couric is ready to work as hard as possible to give her upcoming syndicated talk Katie from Disney-ABC every chance possible to succeed. That will likely include Couric focusing far more on her talk show, which will debut in broadcast syndication this fall, and less on her dual role as an ABC News personality.

“My priority will be the talk show,” says Couric. “When I can be utilized, and obviously I want to be helpful in any way I can [at ABC], I will do that. But the talk show will be a tremendous amount of work and energy. I don’t want to spread myself too thin.”

Promotion will also be key to the show’s success, says Couric and co-executive producer Jeff Zucker — the former NBC Universal CEO and one-time Today show executive producer.

Both Couric and Zucker have been speaking with TV station executives about the show at the ongoing NATPE conference in Miami Beach, Fla. Couric says she is ready to put in the time and effort to promote the show with TV stations.

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“Obviously, we want to get the word out,” says Couric. “We’re still sussing out how that will be most effective. If there are opportunities to visit markets and stations and help them locally, I will. One thought is that I may have a consistent segment on the ABC stations at some point.”

Zucker notes that Couric has a long history of working with TV stations to get the word out on her shows. “Katie grew up in local television, so she knows her way around a TV station,” he says. “Being part of a TV station and its newsroom is second nature to her. As this year unfolds, that is something she will be part of it.”

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The format of the show is still being worked on but it will have multiple segments some days and a single topic on other episodes. Couric says the topics will range from serious issues to light-hearted topics. It will also have recurring segments and regular correspondents.

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“I love the Today show,” she says. “In many ways, it was tailor-made for my skills. In a format like that, viewers really do get to know you. People always say to me, ‘I feel like I know you.’ I always say, ‘In a way, you do.’ They have seen me in all sorts of situations. I think because the show is live, you really are yourself. I miss the opportunity to be myself and I am looking forward to interacting with people that way again.”

Katie, which has clearances on TV stations reaching 93% of the country for its debut this fall, will tape in New York City at Disney’s Times Square Studios.


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Maureen McDonald says:

January 25, 2012 at 1:22 am

New time period and show will be a big challenge for Katie in syndication. Marketing and promotion will be key. I’ll be fascinated to see whether Katie’s Today Show imprimatur will translate well to mid-afternoon local station ratings success.


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