Couric Exiting ABC News; No Word On Talker
Katie Couric is leaving ABC News for a show on Yahoo, whose partnership with ABC News includes hosting the Good Morning America website.
News of Couric's departure was first reported in the Hollywood Reporter.
“Katie is an incredible journalist and this was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up,” said an ABC executive in a statement. “Thanks to the powerful association between ABC News and Yahoo, we know that Katie will continue to work closely with us and welcome her on our air any time.”
Meanwhile, Disney-ABC is still not saying whether Couric will return for a third season of her talk show. Katie ranks No. 8 among women 25-54 with a 0.9 rating, down 10% from the same time last year.
Couric's role with ABC News and the talk show were part of a wide-ranging pact with Disney-ABC signed in 2011.
To a large extent, the talk show's fate rests with the ABC Owned Television Stations, which accounts for a large share of its clearances. It, too, is not talking.
Other groups are assuming Katie will not be back and making plans for the 2014-15 season without it.
"We are looking at numerous alternatives, including the possibility of developing a show of our own in partnership with one of the studios,” says Bob Sullivan, vice president of content at the Scripps TV Station group.
In fact, Scripps is developing a panel show with distributor Debmar-Mercury that would feature Star Jones, formerly a co-host of ABC’s The View.
Scripps airs Katie in nine markets, including ABC affiliates WXYZ Detroit and KNXV Phoenix.
“We’ve already canceled Katie, even before this latest information [Couric's decision to leave ABC News],” says Mike Dugger, program director of Cowles' NBC affiliate KHQ Spokane, Wash. The group is replacing Katie with TMZ next fall on KHQ and KNDO Yakima, Wash.
Another option for stations is NBCUniversal’s Meredith Vieira, which is set to debut in fall 2014.
“In some places, it will be Meredith,” says Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming at Katz Television Group. “Star Jones is possible in some markets. Beyond that, it will be a mix of what stations already own and what they acquire.”