Couric Readying for Daytime ‘Katie’

In the post “Oprah” world, daytime TV has been littered with new personalities trying out hour long shows. But Katie Couric, who brings her own “Katie” to daytime Sept. 10, says she’s been uniquely qualified to join the field from her experience on two other networks – 20 year host of NBC’s “Today” show and much briefer tenure as anchor of “The CBS Evening News.”

“I think that I’ve done such a variety of stories through the years,” she told reporters at the TV Critics Association summer press tour Thursday. “Some lighthearted stories, some fun stories, some celebrity driven stories. And then I’ve done very serious stories, and whether it’s a national tragedy like the Oklahoma City bombing, you know, or 9/11, something I covered extensively and was on the air when that happened.

“I feel as if my portfolio is really varied. And so I pride myself on being able to use the right tone and the right approach and to be able to calibrate that approach depending on who I’m interviewing or the topic that I’m dealing with on any given day. So I hope that people expect me to have the ability to tackle a lot of different subjects well and from the very, very serious to much more lighthearted feature type stories.”

The show will be live weekdays from New York, with a theme song specifically written by Sheryl Crow, before a live audience for the first time since she interacted on the “Today” show plaza with the crowd.

“I’m excited, actually, to work with the studio audience. It’s much more fun, I think, to talk to actual people and to have somebody reacting to the things you’re saying and doing,” she said, adding, only half-kiddingly, “with the exception, perhaps, of this crowd.”

Couric has had a rocky relationship with the TV press going back to the last time she had a session at press tour. Becoming at the time the first solo female evening news anchor on broadcast TV, she was asked what she would wear.

Then when reviews came in, it was worse.

“It was sort of hard for me to understand some of the vitriol that was unleashed and sent my way,” she said. Particularly because, she said, “some of the criticism seemed so shallow. “Somebody saying they didn’t like the way I was holding my hands doing the news or they didn’t like the white jacket that I wore after Labor Day, God forbid. And I would always say: It was winter white! It was tropical weight wool and it was Armani, people!”

Through it all, Couric said, “t was a really great character building experience for me and it taught me to focus on the work and to continue to doing the very best job I could. And as a result, I’m really proud of the work that I did during my five years at CBS.”

Accordingly, she wouldn’t think twice of inviting the two presidential candidates “and their wives and anyone else in their family they would like to bring.”

She’s also invited Sarah Palin whose CBS interview in the last campaign was credited in showing how unprepared the candidate to be. (No response yet on that one).

Couric wouldn’t bite on commenting on other daytime hosts, who come to their posts from comedy or entertainment.

But she said, “I hope people will appreciate a smart conversation” and endorsed a slogan for her show the marketing department came p with: Smart, with Heart, “

which I actually thought was a great kind of description of what I would ideally like the show to be.”

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