After six months of speculation and negotiation, Katie Couric is expected to announce today that she'll do a syndicated daytime talk show with ABC as well as appear on the network's news platforms.
The deal, which has been expected ever since CBS Television Distribution exited negotiations on May 5, has been a long time coming. On December 15,B&C first reported that multiple syndicators were pitching Couric on a daytime talk show. At the time, Couric was the anchor of the CBS Evening News, but her contract was up on June 5, and the former host of the Today Show was considering her options. At the time, it was less clear that she would leave the CBS Evening News but by mid-March, her exit from CBS' evening newscast was all but assured.
Along the way, Couric had serious conversations with her former employer, NBC, as well as her then-current employer, CBS. She also talked with Warner Bros., and ABC.
Details of the deal and how ABC plans to sell and schedule the show are not yet known. The New York Times' Bill Carter reported on Sunday night thatABC is not guaranteeing the show a 4 p.m. berth, which is the time slot that The Oprah Winfrey Show has held in most markets. That slot is considered the most lucrative in daytime because it's when the most people are available to watch television, and because it leads in to TV stations 5 p.m. newscasts. Earlier in negotiations, Couric and her team were demanding 4 p.m. as part of the deal, according to Carter, but that changed along the way. Moving shows around to accommodate 4 p.m. is difficult on all of the major station groups because stations have signed long-term contracts to air the successful shows that already run at that time.
Also not yet known is who will serve as the show's executive producer. Jeff Zucker, the former president and CEO of NBC Universal and Couric's former EP on The Today Show, is on board as Couric's business partner and has an executive producer title, but Zucker is not expected to run the show's day-to-day operations. Sources say that the team has already been looking for a showrunner.