Katie Couric Show to Reach at Least 80% of U.S. TV Viewers

Walt Disney Co. said Katie Couric’s new daytime talk show has signed up TV stations reaching 80 percent of the U.S. since efforts to win commitments from broadcasters began two months ago.

The one-hour “Katie” has secured key times and agreements in 55 of the top 60 TV markets, Janice Marinelli, president of Disney-ABC Domestic Television, said today in a statement. The show will start airing in September 2012.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, signed Couric for a show in June, filling a void at its ABC-owned stations after Oprah Winfrey left broadcast TV to focus on her OWN cable channel. ABC affiliates make up the majority of independent outlets that have signed up, said Bill Carroll, head of programming at Katz Television Group, which advises stations.

“In the end, how the daytime audience embraces Katie Couric’s return and how well the show is produced to meet viewer expectations and needs is more important than being cleared in 80 percent of the country,” Carroll said in an e-mail. “The list of shows cleared in 80 percent or more of the country that failed is longer than the success list.”

Disney fell 1.6 percent to $36.12 at the close in New York. The stock has declined 3.7 percent this year.

“Katie” will be carried on stations owned by Granite Broadcasting Corp., Griffin Communications, Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Raycom Media Inc. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., Disney said. Recent commitments include KSTP in Minneapolis, WEWS in Cleveland, KMOV in St. Louis, KGW in Portland, Oregon, and WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee.

Former NBC Universal Chief Executive Officer Jeff Zucker will be executive producer of the show. Couric, 54, is also part of the ABC News team.

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