Updated Friday, Nov. 22, 6:15 p.m. ET.
Katie Couric is negotiating her exit from ABC News, where she serves as a special correspondent, and is headed to Yahoo.
“Katie is an incredible journalist and this was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up. Thanks to the powerful association between ABC News and Yahoo we know that Katie will continue to work closely with us and welcome her on our air anytime,” according to an ABC executive familiar with the situation.
ABC News and Yahoo have had a news partnership since 2011, and Couric is expected to host an interview show that would run on Yahoo’s homepage. Couric could remain highly visible as part of Yahoo: the home page was the most visited site in the country as of July, with nearly 200 million unique visitors, according to Internet measurement firm comScore Media Metrix.
An official announcement that will describe Couric’s new job is expected early next week.
Couric's deal with ABC included two parts: a role as a special correspondent and her own daytime talk show. Couric and ABC are still deciding on the future of Katie, according to sources.
Many TV stations have bought other shows to air next year instead of Katie, but the ABC Owned Stations, the show's launch group in the nation's biggest markets, do not have a back-up in place. While Katie is renewable at its current ratings level, the cost of producing it — including Couric’s annual $20 million salary, according to reports — makes renewing it challenging. That said, sources say ABC remains interested in keeping the show on the air if the production costs can be reduced.
Some have speculated that Katie would end even before the end of this season, but that appears unlikely. Pulling the show is probably more expensive than keeping it on the air, with TV stations having to scramble to replace it with local news expansions or double-runs of something else, such as Disney/ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire or CBS Television Distribution's Jeopardy!.
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.
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