As Katie Couric Is Expected To Announce Her ABC Deal Today (Monday, June 6th), Here’s Why Syndie Deals With CBS and NBC Didn’t Happen

Jun 6, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The possibility of Katie Couric returning to NBC, this time to do, primarily, a syndicated talk-show, "fell apart over what the network believed were excessive demands — including the insistence that NBC guarantee that its stations would free up the 4 p.m. hour for Ms. Couric — and what Ms. Couric’s team viewed as NBC’s inexperience in the syndication business," reports our friend Bill Carter in The New York Times.

Furthermore, Carter writes, "CBS made an impressive push, Ms. Couric said, led by Mr. Moonves, who remained a strong supporter of Ms. Couric through her tenure on the evening news. But CBS wanted Ms. Couric to focus on the syndicated show, not a continuing role with its news division. She could have worked for ’60 Minutes’ during the year until the start of the syndicated show in 2012. But under the deal CBS was proposing, that opportunity would have ended with the premiere of the syndicated show."

Carter also explains that former NBC chief Jeff Zucker being tapped by Couric as her executive producer was not a factor in her not being able to close a deal at either CBS or NBC. At NBC, the new owners are the ones who let Zucker go, and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has long been had a rivalry with Zucker.

About the ABC offer, the article says, "ABC began to make a serious push in the talks in March. After initially offering Ms. Couric only a network-based show in the early afternoon, ABC and its president, Anne Sweeney, sweetened the offer with a continuing role in the news division."

The story later adds, "Ms. Couric’s negotiators did not exact a guarantee that ABC’s stations would carry her show in the 4 p.m. time slot, as they had tried with NBC. The Couric team conducted market research that persuaded them that time periods would open up on enough stations for the syndicated show to gain more than a toe-hold when it made its nationwide debut in the fall of 2012. Her team settled on a simple formula for success: if the show is good, people will watch it."

Our buddy P.J. Bednarski, over at TVNewsCheck, last month put together this excellent chart of what shows will get the spot, come this fall, that was long-held by "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the nation’s top 25 markets. For example, "Oprah" held the cherished news lead in at the biggest stations owned-and-operated by ABC. As the TVNewsCheck chart notes, below, on the ABC O&O stations in New York, Philly, San Francisco (and Raleigh-Durham), "Oprah" will be replaced by local news. In Los Angeles, on KABC, "Dr. Oz,’ gets the prized "oprah" slot, and in Chicago, where "Oprah" has always been on at 9 a.m, on WLS, they are going with a new local show, "Morning Rush."

However,Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com, writes, "To give Couric a syndicated daily talk show, ABC will probably have to give an hour of daytime programming back to the affiliates and that would likely be the 3 PM slot currently occupied by ‘General Hospital’ though it doesn’t necessarily mean that the sole soap on ABC’s daytime schedule will be canceled as it may be moved to an early time period. ‘The Chew’ and ‘The Revolution’ are set to take over the 1 PM and 2 PM slots in the fall and in January but the odds are they won’t both succeed, leading to a vacancy."

Interestingly, the big winner in getting the time-slots "Oprah" held is "Dr. Oz," which comes from Harpo and is distributed by Sony.


DMA, Market, Station, Owner, Time, New Show

1 New York WABC ABC 4 p.m. Local news

2 Los Angeles KABC ABC 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

3 Chicago WLS ABC 9 a.m. Morning Rush

4 Philadelphia WPVI ABC 4 p.m. Local news

5 Dallas WFAA Belo 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

6 San Francisco KGO ABC 4 p.m. Local news

7 Boston WCVB Hearst 4 p.m. Ellen DeGeneres

8 Atlanta WSB Cox 4 p.m. Local news

9 Washington WJLA Albritton 4 p.m. Anderson Cooper

10 Houston KHOU Belo 4 p.m. Undisclosed

11 Detroit WXYZ Scripps 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

12 Phoenix KTVK Belo 3 p.m. Dr. Oz

13 Seattle KING Belo 4 p.m. Undisclosed

14 Tampa WFLA Media General 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

15 Minn-St.Paul WCCO CBS 4 p.m. Ellen DeGeneres

16 Miami WFOR CBS 4 p.m. Dr. Phil

17 Denver KCNC CBS 4 p.m. Local news

18 Cleveland WEWS Scripps 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

19 Orlando WFTV Cox 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

20 Sacramento KCRA Hearst 4 p.m. Undisclosed

21 St. Louis KSDK Gannett 4 p.m. Undisclosed

22 Portland KGW Cox 4 p.m. Local news

23 Charlotte WSOC Cox 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

24 Pittsburgh WTAE Hearst 4 p.m. Dr. Oz

25 Raleigh-Durham WTVD ABC 4 p.m. Local news


  1. How hard would be for CBS, NBC or ABC to do a survey to find out if Katie Couric has enough fans to rate any prime spot, let alone the salary she’s demanding. If the a survey were done for both popularity and whther the public agrees with her greedy salary demand, I for one, am certain, they’s get a wake up call — and put the whole thing to bed once and for all. If it weren’t for her CBS News contract, they would have dumped her after the first year. I think we are all tired of these over-the-hill has-beens, being shoved down our throats. The networks seem to always look in the past, when the signs say, look to the furure. There are a lot of new freah bright stars our there waiting for their chance. For example, instead of shutting down Two And A Men (the signs were loud and clear, when they made the right decision on Sheen) — and as if Aston Kutcher can hold his own with a brand new show — they’ll hang onto the same-old-same-old show, repeat every old joke Sheen did and shove it down our throats. Sorry Aston, you’re better than that.

  2. Ashton is NOT better than that. Decent producer, though…

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