Katie Couric is in talks with former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker over a new syndicated talk show plan perhaps involving her former Today Show co-host, Matt Lauer. According to the New York Times, Couric's imminent departure from the anchor desk at CBS' Evening News may have as much to do with the ambitious new project than it does with her apparently cold reception at that network.
With a new slot opening up in Oprah's wake, veterans think Couric would be a smashing success in a syndicated talk show role. Husband-wife all-star team Maury Povich and Connie Chung think so, at least:
"Of everybody, Katie has the best chance, not of replacing Oprah, but of getting Oprah’s audience to give her a good, long look,” says Povich, a syndicated heavyweight for two decades. “She has a great personality for daytime television.”
“She’ll be good. In fact, she’ll be great,” says Chung, co-anchor, with Dan Rather, of ‘CBS Evening News’ from 1993 to ’95, and Povich’s wife. “Even though she’s never done a talk show, I guarantee you she knows how to do an hour.”
Matt Lauer, meanwhile, might be the ace-in-the-hole. As the debate over Couric mounted last week, Lauer allegedly entered into negotiations with his employers at the Today Show either to leave early or get a raise. While NBC denies that any discussions have taken place and that Lauer is safely secured by his $17-million contract until the end of 2012, sources close to the parties involved told the Wall Street Journal that Lauer had been talking to both Couric and Zucker. However, for Lauer to join Couric's new project "would require a lot of complicated machinations to occur," said the source.
Regardless of the potential outcome, Couric seems better suited to star in "The Katie Couric Show" than the more collaborative environment at Evening News. Apprently her co-workers at CBS found Couric to be a "haughty" presence who surrounded herself with an entourage brought over from the Today Show. Does that sound like any other daytime television personalities?