An announcement is expected Monday to announce Katie Couric’s new syndicated talk show, set to air in fall 2012. What impact will this have on the future of General Hospital?
A pick-up for Couric’s talk show doesn’t necessarily mean the end for General Hospital.
Is General Hospital heading for its swan song? Fears of a GH cancellation were stoked today when the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal announcing a syndicated talk show for Katie Couric could come as early as Monday. Under the rumored deal, Couric would have ownership of her show, as well as be a part of the ABC News team.
The former Today Show host left her morning show in 2006 to become the lead anchor on the CBS Evening News. Couric’s deal paid her an estimated $15 million dollars. Unfortunately for Couric, what made her such a popular figure on her morning show didn’t translate into ratings success for CBS. Though the program’s ratings fluctuated during Couric’s tenure, what remained a constant was CBS’s third place ranking behind the NBC Nightly News and ABC World News.
In April, reports of Couric vacating her post as anchor began to surface, with speculation that the former morning personality had a desire to do a talk show. During an interview with US Weekly at the end of April, Couric announced her plans for the future. “I am looking at a format that will allow me to engage in more multi-dimensional storytelling,” she says. “The bottom line is that I love doing all kinds of different stories. I have a lot of areas of interest and I want to be able to fulfill all of that.” Couric confirmed her exit on the May 13th broadcast.
Hollywood Reporter is reporting more details surrounding the rumored Monday announcement from Disney/ABC regarding Couric’s new syndicated talk show. The series, set for a September 2012 debut will feature former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker serving as executive producer. Reports estimate it will cost over $1 million a week to produce, running for about 39 weeks a year, with the rest of the order relying on repeats. HR also estimates it will cost Disney/ABC $25 million to sell, launch and market the gab-fest. All of that on top of a salary estimated $5-$10 million a year for two years.
Soap fans have feared that a pick up for Couric’s show could mean the end of General Hospital, which as of January 2012 will be ABC’s only daytime soap opera. All doesn’t hope doesn’t seem lost, at least if there is some truth to what the Hollywood Reporter is saying. The publication writes, “General Hospital airs on ABC at 3 p.m. in most markets and the network is not likely to cancel what will be its last remaining soap opera. But it could shift it to an earlier hour.” More good news lies in the fact that ABC’s new shows The Chew and The Revolution could turn out to be a flop for the network. Should that happen, that leaves ABC with more options to choose for Couric’s new show.
Needless to say, the soap industry will wait with baited breath on Monday, praying that General Hospital won’t be the next victim of ABC’s recent serial killing spree.