CBS News anchor Katie Couric whose five year contract expires in a few months is reportedly considering starting a syndicated talk show with her former Today Show producer Jeff Zucker.
From the New York Post
The two have been putting their heads together to create a new show format that could potentially replace the recently ended program of reigning talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, sources tell The Post.
Zucker closed out his 25-year NBC career this week in Miami at NATPE, a television industry conference where producers shop their syndicated-show concepts to station groups.
“Katie has not made any decision about her future plans,” Couric spokesman Matthew Hiltzik told The Post.
“Jeff has been a close friend and confidante of Katie’s for years and they’ve enjoyed great success together, so it’s natural that people would speculate about them collaborating again.”
CBS hasn’t shut the door on Couric returning to the network but she would have to accept far less money than the $15 million she is currently being paid. The prospects of a severely smaller network paycheck might just be enough motivation for Couric to consider the syndicated route which would give her more control and perhaps even more money than what CBS has been paying her.
Exactly how much CBS would miss Couric should they choose not to renew her contract is debatable. On the one hand they need a recognizable figure to anchor the news through the 2012 elections and viewers have grown accustomed to Couric sitting at the anchor desk. On the other hand during her five year run the ratings have been a big disappointment as the program remained in third place and even touched ten year lows a few times last year which CBS could have accomplished without spending $15 million.
If CBS wants some ratings buzz maybe they should consider Keith Olbermann. I can see it now. The CBS Evening News Countdown with Keith Olbermann.