ABC has made official the deal that was widely expected for weeks, a broad pact with former “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric.
The multiyear, multiplatform deal between Couric and Disney/ABC Television Group includes a nationally syndicated talk show to be produced and hosted by Couric, along with work for Couric as a part of ABC News.
The eight ABC owned-and-operated stations, representing 23% of the domestic TV market, have already cleared Couric’s talk show for the 3 p.m. daily time slot when the show debuts in 2012.
The network also said it is set to return the last hour of its daytime block to affiliates no sooner than September 2012, but it continues to support “General Hospital” along with plans to launch “The Chew” in September 2011 and “The Revolution” in January 2012.
The Couric pact was announced today by Anne Sweeney, president of Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chair of Disney Media Networks. In a statement, Sweeney said: “Katie Couric is one of television’s iconic figures and we are thrilled to have forged such an exciting partnership with her. We look forward to having Katie join the best news team in the business, and to working with her to create a dynamic and successful talk show franchise.”
As a part of ABC News, Couric will anchor specials, cover special events and conduct interviews, along with other assignments, the company said.
Couric’s syndicated show will reunite her with Jeff Zucker, who will be an executive producer of the show along with Couric. The show will be produced in conjunction with Disney/ABC and will be based in New York.
“I’m very happy to be returning to the network where I began my career as a desk assistant in 1979,” Couric said. “It is tremendously exciting to have the creative freedom to develop my own show with Anne Sweeney, the Disney/ABC TV Group and Jeff, and to contribute to such a vibrant, innovative news division. I can’t wait to be part of this incredibly talented, visionary team.”
Couric today continued to repeat her mantra of recent months, that she wants to present a "smart" daytime talk show. She’s now added that she also wants the show to be "fun."