The Continuing Decline of Couric: Off to Yahoo! As Talk Show Wraps Up

The TV career of Katie Couric has been a long decline since she left NBC for an unsuccessful stint in Dan Rather's anchor chair at the CBS Evening News. The Hollywood Reporter suggests Couric is negotiating an exit with ABC News as she's wooed by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer to become a "global news anchor" for Yahoo! News, whatever that means. That's the kind of title you give a big fish in a small pond.

"Couric's daytime talk show is in its second and almost certainly final season on ABC," and the dealmaking only deepens that reality. Sources at Disney and ABC insist for now that that decision will come after they look at the November sweeps numbers.

The original deal -- said to be worth $40 million -- encompassed two seasons of the daytime talk show and three years at ABC News; it is standard for news contracts to be three years. It's unclear how much the news division is paying toward Couric's contract or how much she'll walk away with in an early exit...

ABC News declined comment. But an executive told THR: "Katie is an incredible journalist and this was an opportunity that she couldn't pass up.  Thanks to the powerful association between ABC News and Yahoo we know that Katie will continue to work closely with us and welcome her on our air anytime."

In other words, Couric has been a high-priced flop. She's become very rich without having an audience follow her from NBC. Kara Swisher at AllThingsD added:

There have been negotiations among the trio over many months, since Disney-owned ABC apparently holds rights to Couric’s digital output for the term of her ongoing contract. Some news outlets are reporting that Couric will leave her special correspondent job at ABC, where she has not actually appeared much. She also has a syndicated talk show that runs through the end of the season.

It’s the latest flashy move by CEO Marissa Mayer to try to goose the staid image of Yahoo and provide users with unique reasons to come to Yahoo. Couric and other content initiatives are part of a larger plan to differentiate the site.

Mayer has spearheaded the latest efforts herself, using her own tech celeb status, including hiring the New York Times’ tech reviewer David Pogue for a new tech site and also engaging in talks with well-known TV personality and producer Ryan Seacrest about possible ideas.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis