Katie Couric Said Near Deal to Create Yahoo News Reports

Katie Couric is near an agreement with Yahoo! Inc. to create news programming for the Web portal, said two people with knowledge of the talks.

A deal will probably be announced early next week, said the people, who asked not to be named because a contract hasn’t been signed.

Couric, who hosts a daytime talk show distributed by Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, would give Yahoo another recognizable name to draw viewers and advertisers. Marissa Mayer, who joined Yahoo as chief executive officer last year, has added gadget reviewer David Pogue and editor Megan Liberman from the New York Times.

To allow the talks with Yahoo, ABC let Couric out of an agreement to produce segments exclusively for its network news division, the people said. Couric wants to continue hosting “Katie,” her weekday show, they said.

A decision on whether to renew “Katie” for a third season will be made next month, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, which distributes the program, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement, without offering further details.

Couric, 56, will continue to work closely with ABC, which already provides news reports to Yahoo, said one of the people. The network would welcome her continuing to appear on ABC News, the person said.

Carolyn Clark, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, declined to comment.

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, gained 0.5 percent to $36.49 yesterday in New York. Disney, based in Burbank, California, increased 0.4 percent to $70.20.

Mayer, 38, has stepped up Yahoo’s efforts to produce professional news content. The company hired Pogue last month to lead an expansion of technology coverage on the largest U.S. Web portal. Earlier this year, the company brought on Liberman as editor-in-chief for Yahoo News. The company has partnerships to use programming from ABC News and NBC Sports.

The Hollywood Reporter said earlier that Couric was moving to Yahoo.

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