'Katie' to End After This Season

Disney/ABC’s Katie will end its two-year run after this season, Disney/ABC confirmed on 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,” said Disney/ABC and Katie Couric in a joint statement. “We’re very proud of everyone’s contributions to making Katie the #1 new syndicated talk show of 2012-2013, and we look forward to the rest of the season.”

Whether or not the talk show would return for a second season has been endlessly speculated upon, with few industry insiders expecting it to be back and some wondering if it would end before even completing its second season.

Just before Thanksgiving, Couric announced she would no longer contribute to ABC News, which was another part of the deal she had with Disney/ABC, and would become Yahoo’s global anchor. That job will remain on the back burner while Couric finishes the talk show’s run.

After opening last fall at a 2.0 live plus same day household ratings average, according to Nielsen, Katie’s household and demographic ratings never lived up to early expectations. Those were high because Couric had been considered America’s sweetheart while co-anchoring NBC’s Today—and thus perfect for the job of hosting a long-running talk show—and because Katie was cleared in top-rated afternoon time slots on the ABC Owned Television Stations, which are among the country’s strongest TV stations.

Moreover, the show was expensive to produce, with Couric receiving as much as $20 million annually. That kind of overhead made Katie difficult to renew once it became clear it wasn’t on a growth track.

The show also was plagued early on with problems keeping an executive producer, going through several teams—including Jeff Zucker, who left last November to head CNN—until finally landing on Rachel Miskowiec last May. Miskowiec will take the show through the end of its run.

Last summer, TV stations began buying programming to replace Katie in fall 2014, particularly NBCUniversal’s upcoming Meredith Vieira. As of now, the majority of TV stations who air Katie have other plans in place for next fall. That is not true, however, for ABC’s stations, which have been trying to develop a show to replace Katie but haven’t found anything yet on which they want to take a risk. A Disney/ABC representative declined to comment on what the ABC owned stations might air in Katie’s place.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.