Morning Media Newsfeed: Katie Canceled | Roberts Inks ABC Deal | Backlash Against A&E

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Katie Couric’s Talk Show Ending (TVNewser)
Katie Couric‘s syndicated daytime talk show Katie will end after two seasons, Couric and ABC announced Thursday. “While production will continue on Katie through June 2014, we’ve mutually agreed that there will not be a third season of the show,” Couric and Disney-ABC said in a statement. HuffPost The news follows Couric’s decision to leave ABC News early due to her new partnership with Yahoo!, where she will serve as the website’s “global anchor.” New York Daily News The end of Katie came as no surprise. There has been buzz for months that trouble has been brewing behind the scenes, which started when Couric’s close pal and executive producer Jeff Zucker left Katie to run CNN. Show insiders have also depicted a tug-of-war between Couric and producers: She had hoped to turn the show into a more news-driven production, while they have pushed to make the talk show more lighter and more gossip-focused. Ad Age / Media News It recently still ranked among the top 10 daytime syndicated shows, pulling about 2.2 million viewers on average, but ratings fell short of expectations, especially given the high cost of production and Couric’s celebrity. THR The end of Katie opens up time slots at 3 and 4 p.m. on ABC-owned stations and others in key markets. These are already being coveted by other shows; the stations also may opt to expand news into those time slots. Some stations had already chosen other shows for next fall, which is believed to have contributed to the decision to the show. Capital New York With her daytime show ending, Couric will presumably have some flexibility to pursue other TV options. One of the long-rumored options is CNN, which is being led by Zucker. In an interview with Capital earlier this month, Zucker shot down the reports that he had tried to woo Couric to the cable news channel. “We did not have any conversations with Katie about coming to CNN,” Zucker said.

Robin Roberts Re-Signs With ABC News (TVNewser)
Robin Roberts has signed a new deal with ABC News where she will remain co-anchor of Good Morning America. TVNewser reported earlier this month that she was close to signing a deal with the network. Roberts joined the show in 1995 as a feature reporter while also working for ESPN. She later became GMA‘s newsreader and in 2005 was named co-anchor, alongside Diane Sawyer. NY Post / Page Six A source close to the network insisted the pact is only in the “high-seven figures,” or just less than $10 million. “Over a month ago, they quietly inked a new, long-term, very high seven-figure deal with Robin that will keep [her] at the company for years to come… it was a friendly negotiation,” said an insider. Capital New York Putting aside the way the news broke, re-signing Roberts is an important move for ABC, which is trying to keep as much of the GMA team intact as it can, as the show celebrates a full year of topping NBC’s Today show, which had been the dominant morning leader for 20 years. The departure of Sam Champion was a big one for ABC, and the network didn’t want to risk losing one of its highest-profile anchors, too.

Fans Criticize Move to Suspend Duck Dynasty Star (NYT)
The A&E network was assailed on Thursday by thousands of fans of its most popular show over its decision to suspend the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family, Phil Robertson, because of comments made in an interview in GQ magazine that the network deemed homophobic. Times Picayune Gov. Bobby Jindal Thursday issued a statement criticizing the television network over its decision to suspend Robertson for controversial comments he made about gay people and African Americans. “I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,” said Jindal. THR / The Live Feed Several Fox News Channel hosts and commentators came to the defense of Robertson. On Hannity, host Sean Hannity said it was a “slippery slope” to begin firing people over things they said, adding he never advocated for the firings of liberals — including Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir — who got in trouble for controversial comments. Megyn Kelly said on The Kelly File that Robertson’s indefinite hiatus preemptively stopped any conversation that might have arisen from his comments. Deadline Hollywood Nearly 82,000 people, in about nine hours, have signed the IStandWithPhil petition, calling for A&E to immediately reinstate Robertson.

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