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Why Jeff Zucker Might Leave 'Katie' Soon Deadline

Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show "Katie" has a search under way for a new producer amid speculation that executive producer Jeff Zucker plans to leave the show, reports Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.

"I hear talks with potential candidates are under way, and a hire is expected within the next couple of weeks," Andreeva writes.

She adds: "Zucker has a major financial interest in 'Katie' (some sources indicate he is poised to pocket $8 million from the $20 million guarantee to Couric and him), and is not likely to leave without a succession plan in place.”

Zucker, who previously ran NBCUniversal, appears to be in demand among major media companies, and it is expected that he will land another top executive position. His name has surfaced as a possible replacement for CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton, who will leave at year-end, and Zucker has also been mentioned for the CEO role at Tribune.

“As for ‘Katie,’ it has not been a breakout success of the likes of ‘Dr. Phil,’ ‘Rachael Ray’ or ‘Ellen,’ but its ratings have stabilized after an initial slip,” the story reports. “Last week, the show continued to lead all freshman talkers in households (1.9/5, up a tenth from the previous week). It also was up a tenth in women 25-54 (1.0/6), a category where ‘Katie’ has been running neck-and-neck with fellow newbie ‘Steve Harvey.’ Among all syndicated talk shows, ‘Katie’ finished No. 5 in household and No. 4 in women 25-54.”