ABC is expected to announce a deal with Katie Couric today that hinges on the former “CBS Evening News” anchor’s potential as a syndication star.
Couric and her team, which includes her former “Today” cohort Jeff Zucker, believe that she can fill the daytime hole left by Oprah and this was a key part of the negotiations with ABC, as well as CBS and NBC.
According to The New York Times‘ detailed account of Couric’s network negotiations, her team went as far as to demand that NBC have its stations hold Oprah’s longtime 4 p.m. time slot for her. When NBC wouldn’t provide this guarantee, Couric bumped CBS and ABC to the top of her list.
Eventually ABC won out with a pitch that included both its syndication experience and an offer for Couric to regularly contribute to its news division. By all accounts, the deal does not include any time slot guarantees on behalf of ABC stations.