The onetime NBC perk assault, fresh off a stint as the gravitas-bearing face of CBS News, has officially joined up with--you guessed it--ABC, where she will produce and host her own daytime talk show.
Hey, there's an Oprah-size hole in the TV landscape, and someone's gotta fill it, right?
Details are, of course, scarce on what Couric's daytime foray might entail, though there have been murmurs she'll go the Conan O'Brien/Andy Richter route and get herself a sidekick. Whatever the format, she won't make her talk show debut on the network until sometime in 2012. ( Coincidentally, the same time Matt Lauer's contract is up with Today. Interesting, no?)
"I'm very happy to be returning to the network where I began my career as a desk assistant in 1979," Couric said in a statement. "It is tremendously exciting to have the creative freedom to develop my own show...and to contribute to such a vibrant, innovative news division."
In addition to her chatty duties, Couric will also contribute to ABC News, though with what frequency has yet to be determined--presumably, her presence in the news division will be heavier prior to the onset of her daily affair.
None of the financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but rest assured that Couric will be raking it in. In fact, the Hollywood Reporter estimates she'll be taking home between $5 million and $10 million a year. And unlike their initial offer, which saw Couric host a network-produced show, the series will be syndicated and therefore much more lucrative. Plus, Katie herself will not only host and produce but actually own her talk show, David Letterman- and Oprah Winfrey-style, ensuring her an extra significant cut of any profits reaped.
The show has been tentatively slated to air at 3 p.m. (the current time slot of General Hospital), though the network neglected to mention what this may mean for the fate of what's left of its soap opera lineup. As it happens, Katie will have her work cut out for her: in many, though not all, markets, that time pits her against jovial daytime queen Ellen DeGeneres.
Meanwhile, today's long-coming announcement did double duty for ABC: In addition to pimping out its new talent, it was timed to perfectly overshadow the first day of veteran newsman Scott Pelley's first day as the anchor of the CBS Evening News.
Another coincidence, we're sure.