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.