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Katie Couric joins ABC in multi-platform deal; Here’s what she’ll be doing for ABC News

After months of negotiation and speculation, Katie Couric‘s next stop will be ABC, where she got her start as a desk assistant in 1979. ABC announced that Couric, the former CNN and NBC reporter, “Today” show co-anchor and the first woman to solo anchor a network evening newscast — at CBS News — is moving to the world of syndication in a deal with Disney/ABC that also calls for contributions to ABC News beginning this summer.

Couric’s as-yet untitled syndicated show — which already has late afternoon clearance on the 8 ABC O&O’s — will begin in the fall of 2012 and will be executive produced by former NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker.

“It is tremendously exciting to have the creative freedom to develop my own show with Anne Sweeney and Jeff, and to contribute to such a vibrant, innovative news division,” said Couric.

In a note to staff, ABC News president Ben Sherwood writes, “While her primary mission will be to create and launch the new show, Katie is also joining our team at ABC News this summer, bringing her many talents to some of the most important and interesting stories of the day.”

Couric is in Los Angeles this morning — and will be on “The Tonight Show” tonight — as the deal was announced by Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks.

In her statement, Sweeney acknowledged Couric’s role with the news division: “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.”

“I’ve known Katie for 14 years,” Sherwood writes, “and even with all of her success, I’m confident that her best days, biggest scoops and most powerful journalism lie directly ahead.”

Sherwood’s memo, and the news release from ABC, after the jump…

DISNEY/ABC TV GROUP SIGNS MULTI-PLATFORM DEAL WITH KATIE COURIC

Award-winning Journalist, Best-Selling Author & Television Personality To Host and Produce Syndicated National One-Hour Daily Daytime Show
Premiering in September 2012

Couric to also Join ABC News Team

Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) has signed a multi-year, multi-platform agreement with Katie Couric, award-winning journalist, best-selling author and popular TV personality, to host and produce her own nationally syndicated talk show and to join the ABC News team, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, president, Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chair, Disney Media Networks. The program will be distributed by Disney/ABC Domestic Television and will premiere in September 2012.

Couric, the former “Today” co-anchor who was most recently anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” a “60 Minutes” correspondent and host of the weekly online interview series, @katiecouric, will be reunited with Jeff Zucker, who will be an executive producer with Couric on the yet-to-be-named syndicated series, which will be based in New York and produced in conjunction with Disney/ABC.

In addition to hosting the new syndicated program, Couric will join the ABC News team, contributing to all programs and platforms. Beginning this summer, Couric, winner of the distinguished duPont, Murrow and Cronkite Awards and numerous Emmys, will anchor specials, contribute interviews, participate in special events coverage and bring her many talents to bear on some of the most important and interesting stories of the day.

In making the announcement, Ms. Sweeney stated: “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.”

Ms. Couric added: “I’m very happy to be returning to the network where I began my career as a desk assistant in 1979. 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.”

“It was a blast working with Katie at ‘Today’ and I’m excited to do it again,” said Zucker. “And besides, it should be more fun spending time with Katie at 3 or 4 in the afternoon than at 3 or 4 in the morning.”

The eight ABC Owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh/Durham and Fresno, which represent nearly 23% of the nation’s TV households, have already cleared the new show in the 3:00 p.m. time slot. As part of the announcement, the network is set to return the last hour of its Daytime network block to affiliates no earlier than September 2012, but continues to support “General Hospital,” and the plans to launch “The Chew” in September of this year and “The Revolution” in January 2012.

Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist, veteran TV personality and New York Times best-selling author. Prior to joining the Disney/ABC Television Group, she was anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” a “60 Minutes” correspondent, a “CBS Sunday Morning” contributor and anchor of CBS News primetime specials. When the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” debuted on September 5, 2006, Couric became the first female solo anchor of a weekday network evening news broadcast. She also writes a monthly column for Glamour magazine, which features an interview with a dynamic female role model every month, and is active on Twitter, @katiecouric.

The RTNDA honored the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” with the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in both 2008 and 2009. Also in 2009, USC’s Annenberg School for Communication awarded Couric the Walter Cronkite Award for Special Achievement for “National Impact on the 2008 Campaign,” and the University of South Dakota and Freedom Forum awarded her the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. In January 2010, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism awarded Couric the Alfred I. duPont Award for political reporting for her 2008 interviews with Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. The “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” was awarded a second duPont for the series “Children of the Recession.” In September 2010, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” three Emmy Awards: Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast: “Rape in America: Justice Denied”; Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast: “Financial Family Tree”; Best Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast: “The Battle of Wanat.” “60 Minutes” also received an Emmy for Outstanding Interview for Couric’s profile of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, “Saving Flight 1549.”

Couric led CBS’s critically acclaimed coverage of the historic 2008 Presidential election and also launched a series of webcasts giving viewers live, exclusive Web coverage of the election and the historic beginnings of Obama’s presidency.

In 2000 Couric launched the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Lilly Tartikoff to fund cutting-edge research in colorectal cancer and generate awareness about the life-saving value of screening. Following Couric’s on-air colonoscopy in 2000, a scientifically documented 20% increase in the number of colonoscopies performed across the country was dubbed “The Couric Effect” by researchers at the University of Michigan. Couric received the Peabody Award for her “Today” show series on colon cancer.

Couric is also a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer, and in May 2008, she and her other network news counterparts participated in the first Stand Up To Cancer broadcast, an unprecedented effort that culminated in a one-hour, commercial-free, primetime program on ABC, CBS and NBC in Fall 2008. Two years later, on September 10, 2010, Couric and her ABC News and NBC News counterparts, Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams, joined forces once again to host the second live “road-block” Stand Up To Cancer fundraising event. To date, $180 million has been pledged to Stand Up To Cancer to support “Dream Teams” of scientists from different institutions, working together to get new therapies to patients quickly.

ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and a host of cable channels donated one hour of simultaneous commercial-free primetime for the nationally televised fundraising special, which featured live performances and appearances by legendary recording artists and stars from the worlds of film, television and sports.

————————-

From: Sherwood, Ben
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 1:02 PM
To: #ABCTV News ALL
Cc: Sweeney, Anne X.
Subject: Katie Couric

I’m pleased to share important news: Anne Sweeney is announcing at this hour that Katie Couric will join the Disney/ABC Television Group to produce and host a syndicated daytime talk show that will debut in the Fall of 2012.

While her primary mission will be to create and launch the new show, Katie is also joining our team at ABC News this summer, bringing her many talents to some of the most important and interesting stories of the day.

A versatile journalist, interviewer and storyteller, Katie will contribute across all of our broadcasts and online, joining our powerhouse line-up of anchors and correspondents as the ultimate utility player. Katie is committed to helping us uphold the great traditions of ABC News as we strive to build the news division of the future.

Katie’s remarkable career spans more than three decades. In 2010, she won the duPont Award for her interview with Sarah Palin. In 2008 and 2009, Couric’s CBS Evening News was honored with the Murrow Award for Best Newscast. In 2004, she was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. In 2001, she won a Murrow Award for Overall Excellence and in 2000 she earned a Peabody Award for her landmark series on colon cancer.

While many are familiar with her myriad accomplishments, I’m delighted to remind you that Katie got her start in our business in 1979 as an ABC News desk assistant in our Washington bureau.

On a personal note, I’ve known Katie for 14 years, and even with all of her success, I’m confident that her best days, biggest scoops and most powerful journalism lie directly ahead.

So help me to welcome Katie (@katiecouric) back to ABC News. This is a great day as we all look forward to new possibilities.

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