All Katie, All the Time Is OK With AffiliatesStations set to air new fall talk show are happy with star’s publicity blitz, including a Yahoo show that initially raised concerns 5/07/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Between Katie Couric's turn as guest host on Good Morning
America last month and her weekly series that debuted last
week on Yahoo, the star TV personality has been hustling to
get her name and face back into everyday conversation before her daytime
talk show’s fall debut. While some executives at partner stations
were initially skeptical about the Web program—they say they didn’t
know about the project in advance, and some expressed concern that
the online and broadcast shows would share content—they say they
now feel better having seen the first episode. And the appreciation
for Couric’s marketing savvy seems almost universal.
The Yahoo program, Katie’s Take, explores “health, nutrition,
parenting, and wellness” issues, among others. The first installment, promoted prominently on Yahoo.com in
advance of its debut last week, saw Couric venture to a
grocery store to discuss the health benefits of snack foods.
It ran just short of three minutes.
The episode seemed to allay skepticism some affiliates
had about buying her syndicated show, only to learn
later (at the same time as much of America) she
would be rolling out a Web show months earlier.
One insider with knowledge of Couric’s
strategy said the Web series will help promote
the daytime show, and noted that all parties
have the same goal of giving Katie the best
chance possible to thrive.
After seeing the Yahoo show, station partners
are taking Camp Couric at its word.
“It appears to be part of an online and
social media play, which is an important
component for this program and everything
we do on the local level,” says Mike
Devlin, president/GM of WFAA Dallas.
Couric’s week-long run on GMA was a factor in the morning broadcast
scoring some rare wins against the star’s former workplace, NBC’s Today.
The many ABC affiliates and Disney-owned stations in her Disney/ABC
Television-syndicated show’s distribution network are delighted to see
Couric back to her less-formal self. “My feeling is, the more exposure Katie
has right now, the better,” says Dave Boylan, VP/GM at WPLG Miami.
“The ABC network appearances are important to get her back in
front of viewers,” says Bill Hoffman, executive VP of Cox Media Group
and chairman of the ABC affiliates board. “Yahoo is another marketing
platform that should help the same cause. I think both
the ABC appearances and the Yahoo exposure should help
the fall launch.”
While Couric’s network appearances will not help their
morning shows, even some non-ABC affiliated stations that
are signed up for Katie applaud her promotional efforts. “We
think it’s fantastic that she’s been proactive about her brand
and her approach to the show this fall,” says Joe Cook, president/
GM of WVUE New Orleans, a Fox affiliate.
Disney/ABC has also pitched Katie to NBC affiliates, saying
viewers still associate Couric with the network from her Today
heyday, skipping her CBS Evening News phase altogether.
Ray Heacox, president and general manager of KING
Seattle, credits Couric for deploying a multi-dimensional
strategy to cut through the modern media morass. “We
see it as, the more digital, the better,” Heacox says. “We
do that ourselves to get as much extra coverage as we can.
We find those things additive.”
The Katie push will continue this summer when the host
launches a station tour starting in earnest in July and continuing
into September. The trip will include more than a dozen
stops, including stations in Los Angeles and Seattle.
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