Katie Couric Brings Her Skill Set to Daytime Talk

The former "Today" and "Evening News" host moves to afternoon.

She’s tackled the topics of the moment in the early morning hours, and the news of evening each night. Now Katie Couric is taking a crack at the afternoon.

Since bringing her much debated five-year tenure at the lead anchor and managing editor of “The CBS Evening News” in 2011, Couric – who launched her national career with a 15-year stint on NBC’s “Today” show – jumped networks to ABC, where she’s served as a high-profile utility player, stepping into temp roles on “Good Morning, America,” “Nightline,” “The View” and various specials.

But beginning Sept. 10 the 57-year-old broadcast journalist will also be back on the air in a daily capacity, hosting her own afternoon syndicated talk show, a program she’s described as a hybrid of “Today’s” feature-style take on trends and topics and Oprah Winfrey’s life lessons approach. Couric reveals what viewers can expect, both from the show and from Katie herself.

On returning to her daytime television roots in a totally different way:

“I had 15 wonderful years on the ‘Today’ show, which were some of the happiest years of my professional life and really had a terrific time doing that show, but I don't know if Thomas Wolfe is right and you can't go home again, but I feel as if that's something that I'm proud of, that I'm moving forward. I'm one of those people who really likes new challenges, and I'm one of those people who is more than willing ‑‑ I don't know why ‑‑ to put myself out there and try something new, come what may.

And I think the daytime, for me, this was an exciting opportunity, because creatively, to build something from scratch, to get a blank canvas and to actually shape a program that tackles some of the things that you think are important, that you think people want to know more about, that they're hungry for more information and a richer experience than just sort of getting headlines or listening to a three‑minute interview, to not have to play beat the clock, to roll up my sleeves and let a conversation breathe and have intelligence and humanity, I thought this would be an opportunity to do that, and I think that's why I wanted to dive into this genre.”

On bringing her complete skill set to the table:

“One of the exciting things for me about doing the show is I'm going to be able to flex all my muscles. I've been in television news, I'm sorry to say, 33 years at this point in time. And I think that I've done such a variety of stories through the years – some lighthearted stories, some fun stories, some celebrity‑driven stories, and then I've done very serious stories. ... I feel as if my portfolio is really varied, and so I pride myself on being able to use the right tone and the right approach and to be able to calibrate that approach depending on who I'm interviewing or the topic that I'm dealing with on any given day.”

On the show’s format:

“It's still a work in progress, but I think it will be at times a single‑topic show, and other times it may be two topics in one show – sometimes even three.  I think we'll be talking about things as varied as the impact of technology on our relationships, on our children, sort of the best way to care for an aging parent. A quarter of the adult population in this country is now caring for an aging parent, and I think there are a lot of people who need guidance and help in that. It may be dating in your 40s and 50s; something that I can relate to…I think you'll see recurring franchises on the show: I think we're going to be doing something called Women Who Should Be Famous, where we'll be able to spotlight some of these remarkable women who are doing extraordinary things and not getting much attention for those things.”

On one of her favorite new ongoing features:

“I'm doing this thing called YOLO: that's You Only Live Once, which is a kind of a modern twist on the notion of a bucket list, so I'm going to be doing some of the things that I've always wanted to do, sort of fulfilling my fantasies. But why I'm excited about that franchise is we're going to give viewers an opportunity to tell us something that they've always wanted to do, and for us to have access to some of these people and some of these experiences and to let someone who would never have the opportunity to do so kind of check something off on his or her bucket list is a really exciting idea for me.”

On interacting with the live audience in the studio:

“I think the closest that I've worked with a live studio audience is probably the crowd on the plaza that we started to do when I was actually anchoring the ‘Today’ show with Bryant Gumbel, so I'm excited, actually, to work with the studio audience. It's much more fun, I think, to talk to actual people and to have somebody reacting to the things you're saying and doing.”


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