*Veteran TV personality Katie Couric begins a new chapter today…and the chapter already looks familiar.
The former “Today” show co-host and “CBS Evening News” anchor will premiere her first-ever daytime talk show, “Katie,” mixing entertainment, information and topical stories before a studio audience…just like it’s syndicated ABC predecessor, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
“I’m trying to book compelling guests, I’m trying to think of topics that people care about or are interested in, that might not have been fully explored in other venues,” Couric tells EURweb. “I’m just trying to make great TV, and all the things that are included in that description.”
The daytime pool will be packed on Monday, with debuts also set for Ricki Lake and “Survivor” host Jeff Probst. The trio joins last week’s premieres from Steve Harvey and Tricia Goddard, plus the Monday return of big guns “The Talk,” “Ellen,” “Dr. Phil,” “Dr. Oz,” “Anderson Live” and “Wendy Williams.” Katie is looking to get some separation from the pack with her show’s Oprah-like combo of high-powered celebrity guests, news makers and everyday people who have extraordinary stories.
“Katie’s” Monday opener will feature Jessica Simpson in her first post-baby interview, and Sheryl Crow, who wrote and performs the “Katie” theme song. The following day, Couric will host Aimee Copeland, the woman who lost parts of all her limbs to a flesh-eating bacteria.
Other guests set for the fall include Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Susan Sarandon, Chelsea Handler, Sofia Vergara, 50 Shades Of Grey author E.L. James, Demi Lovato and Wendy Williams.
After not quite meeting expectations at CBS News, (she left in April 2011 when her contract was not renewed), Couric, 55, says she’s entering this new venture in her life with measured expectations.
“I’ve learned in my life that there’s only so many things that you can control,” she says. “You can check off all the boxes and do research and figure out your target demo, and what do people care about. And I think that at the end of the day, you just have to do things that you think are really interesting, that you’re curious about and try to present those topics in the most engaging way possible.”
“Katie” will also feature this fall Sharon and Lexie Love, whose daughter and sister, Yeardley, was murdered two years ago by her ex-boyfriend at the University of Virginia, research professor and motivational speaker Brené Brown and Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.
Below, Couric admits that this daytime talk show is where she feels the most in her comfort zone.