Jeff Zucker on ‘Katie’: ‘We’re not going to do Today in the afternoon’

By Alex Weprin Comment

When Katie Couric’s new talk show premieres on ABC this Fall, there will be a familiar face in the control room. Former “Today” EP and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker will be running day-to-day operations at the program, at least through the first year, he tells B&C‘s Paige Albiniak. Zucker had previously committed to serving as an EP on the show, but his daily role was unclear.

Zucker also revealed a number of new details about the program.

“There are a lot of great shows on in the afternoon: Ellen’s your entertainer, Phil is your therapist, The View is your editorial page, but there’s no best friend in daytime right now. That’s the role that Katie can fill.”

“We’re not going to do Today in the afternoon, but we are going to hopefully take advantage of the hole that we think exists in the afternoon marketplace for honest, elevated conversation.”

As for his role:

“I was excited at the prospect of returning to produce television. I never had more fun that when I was producing and in the control room. That’s something I’ve always longed to return to. I think Katie also longed to return to a format that best utilized her skills and her skillset, which was being able to report, interview, have fun and show her personality. I think when she can do all of that, that’s the best use of her talent. You can’t go back in time, but you can make the most of your skillset. I’ll be the day-to-day showrunner, especially for the first year.”

Read more from Albiniak here.