Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper Facing Serious Challenges In Crowded Syndie Marketplace

By Alex Weprin 

Today former CBS and NBC news anchor Katie Couric will debut her syndicated talk show “Katie” (look for Gail Shister‘s review of the first episode later today).

Also debuting today: new talk shows hosted by “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, Steve Harvey and a return to daytime TV from Ricki Lake. That doesn’t even count the new seasons of returning shows like “Ellen” and Anderson Cooper’s syndie show “Anderson Live.”

If last year was a slow one for syndicated daytime talk shows, this year the cup runneth over.

B&C’s ace syndication reporter Paige Albiniak breaks it down (subscription required):

After all of these months of hype, now comes the moment of truth: Which of these shows will survive to see season two? The answer is hard to predict, and each has its own factors by which to set expectations.

Katie has by far the strongest clearances and the best time slots. So while that show has the best chance to succeed, it also faces the highest expectations. That could work to the advantage of the rest of the pack, all of which have to be considered underdogs compared to Katie.

MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman argues that despite the pressure, Couric is sure to break out:

Couric is perfect for this time slot. The laid-back pace will agree with her. The informal broadcast style fits her like a glove. And the expected large audience of women — the folks who loved her at “Today” — is likely to identify with her.

And once the viewers bond with Couric, you can bet that they’ll want to return to watch her at 3 p.m. on ABC affiliates. Couric radiates a warmth that an audience will find reassuring.