Katie Couric will announce this afternoon, via People magazine, that she is leaving the anchor desk at the “CBS Evening News.” Now, the speculation about her next stop is in high gear.
There is still an offer on the table for Couric to stay at CBS with a syndicated talk show and a role on the newsmagazine show “60 Minutes.” But ABC has made a big push for a Couric talk show plus even wider exposure across its network news platforms, including a presence on its 2012 presidential election coverage and prime time specials. CBS News is not willing to match that end of the offer. NBC, which had expressed interest, is no longer in the running.
A syndication deal with ABC would assure carriage on the big ABC O&Os which had broadcast “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for decades. WLS in Chicago and WABC in New York will replace Oprah with locally produced shows. KABC will fill the Oprah slot at 3pmPT with Dr. Oz.
But, as this is a syndicated show, Couric would air on non-ABC affiliates as well. It’s the kind of talent gig — hosting a daily TV show, while also working for a competing broadcast network — we rarely see, and could make non-ABC affiliates think twice about carrying Couric. Of course, the same could be said if Couric stays at CBS.
Still, ABC TV is rewriting the daytime programming playbook best evidenced by the cancellation of long running soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”
Battaglio got a “no comment” from an ABC News spokesperson, while an ABC insider tells TVNewser, “Everybody thinks this is a real long-shot.”
Another insider tells us, “CBS has been her home for the last 5 years and Les Moonves loves her. There will be a lot of rumors through the month of May…. a lot of talk and not much more.”