The hottest stories circulating in the TV industry this week are about an entrenched incumbent hoping to regain some former glory and an extremely disruptive challenger -- and no, I don’t mean Barack and Mitt. I’m talking about Katie and Hurricane Isaac, of course.
TV columnists couldn’t gush enough about the former a.m. network news queen's turned p.m.-network-news-experiment’s new syndicated TV talk show, especially when she started talking about her former bosses at CBS News.
Quipping that she “felt constrained” by CBS management, and “liberated” when she left, Couric set the stage for the Sept. 10 launch of the aptly named, “Katie.” She's reunited with former NBC chief Jeff Zucker, who, as the wundkerkind producer of NBC’s “Today,” was responsible for making Couric the All-American news girl.
The question, according to media critics like The Daily Beast/Newsweek’s Howard Kurtz, is whether Couric can once again be TV’s daytime queen. In other words, will she finally be the one to pull syndication’s Excaliber from the stone and be anointed the next “Oprah Winfrey”?
Or as Kurtz actually put it, “Can anyone again rule the fractured kingdom of daytime syndicated TV?”
Couric tells Kurtz that while such comparisons are “inevitable,” she has a very different personality from Oprah, and that her new show will have more of a newsy edge. Which doesn’t explain why her first guest is scheduled to be new mom Jessica Simpson. That’s hardly hard news, if you ask me.
Maybe Katie should interview Hurricane Isaac, because next to her, he’s captured the attention of TV writers, whose focus has been on the eye of the GOP storm taking place at the Republication National Convention in Tampa.
Given the perfect-storm nature of things -- an approaching tropical storm being upgraded to a full-fledged hurricane, its path near convention headquarters and en route to former Republican administration eyesore New Orleans -- the only question is which network stood to benefit the most: Fox News, MSNBC or The Weather Channel. Only Nielsen will know for sure.