LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Katie Couric has signed a deal with ABC television to host and produce her own syndicated daytime talk show starting in September 2012, ABC said on Monday.
Couric, 54, will also contribute to other ABC News programs starting this summer, anchoring specials and contributing interviews, the Disney/ABC Television Group said in a statement.
The daytime show is as yet untitled but will be produced by Jeff Zucker - Couric’s old boss from her days as host of NBC’s top-rated morning show “Today”.
Couric told ABC News in an interview she hoped the show would be smart and fun and a place where “you can go to make sense of a very complicated world.”
“Smart conversation, those are the two words that I would like to aspire to, and also fun conversation,” Couric said.
“We’ll be running the gamut from everything from serious stories, like a new cancer drug, or what’s going on with the deficit and trying to explain it so people can really understand it, to dealing with kids and technology and what is all this technology doing to our children’s brains and ability to socialize, to bullying, to fun, popular culture stories.”
Couric, known as “America’s Sweetheart”, ended a five-year stint on May 19 as anchor of rival network “CBS Evening News”. On her appointment in 2006, she was the first woman to serve as a solo U.S. network evening news anchor.
The new daytime series will be based in New York. Eight ABC affiliates have cleared their 3pm slots for the new show in September 2012, ABC said.
Couric, one of the best-known personalities on U.S. television, arrived at the CBS evening news show in 2006 in a blaze of publicity. But despite winning a number of awards — and famously interviewing a stumbling Sarah Palin in 2008 — she never managed to lift the newscast out of its third place in the ratings war with rivals NBC and ABC.
Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, called Couric “one of television’s iconic figures.”
“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,” Sweeney added in a statement on Monday.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney