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TV Column
Posted at 06:22 PM ET, 08/28/2012

Katie Couric lines up Jessica Simpson as the first guest on new talk show


Katie Couric on the set of her new daytime talk show, "Katie.” (Andrew Eccles - Disney-ABC Domestic Television)
Answering the burning question as to what direction former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric will take with her new daytime talk show: Disney announced Tuesday that Jessica Simpson will be Couric’s first big “get” when the program premieres Sept. 10.

Simpson will be making her first post-baby TV appearance. This is relevant and newsworthy because Simpson — who put on a lot of weight while pregnant with her first child — was signed by Weight Watchers to become their new spokeswoman if she can get the weight off. Word on the street is that the weight loss hasn’t gone so well. On the premiere episode of “Katie,” Simpson is going to discuss the “intense challenge” of losing the weight and “nasty rumors” about that, Disney said.

And this, serious students of TV, is why it’s always better if celebrities wait until after they’ve lost the weight to leak to the media that they’ve been signed by Weight Watchers — as Jennifer Hudson did. File this under Celebrities Who Paint Themselves Into a Corner and Then Blame the Media.

We don’t recommend putting any money on Couric asking Simpson about that, since one of the most endearing traits of daytime talk show hosts — even ones who used to be journalists — is that they don’t ask tough questions, lest celebrities’ publicists decide to give their show a miss going forward.

Also appearing on “Katie’s” first episode: Sheryl Crow, who wrote and performs the show’s theme song. Crow will discuss — “for the first time,” insists “Katie” — her recently diagnosed brain tumor.

That may come as a surprise to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which reported back in June, via one of its columnists:

“Sheryl Crow has a brain tumor, but she’s not worried about it because it’s benign. She gave me this startling news with a smile during an otherwise lovely interview.”

“‘I worried about my memory so much that I went and got an MRI. And I found out I have a brain tumor,’ Crow said . . . in a suite at The Hotel in Mandalay Bay.”

Crow continued in that interview: “I haven’t really talked about it.. . . It’s benign, so I don’t have to worry about it.”

Then there’s “Katie’s” Day-2 “get”: 24-year-old Aimee Copeland, who this summer lost part of all her limbs to a rare flesh-eating bacteria. According to the show, she will “def[y] all odds and walk, for the first time” to Katie Couric on stage.

It’s all part of Women Who Are Reinventing Themselves month on “Katie,” the show announced Tuesday — because it’s a “new beginning” for Couric.

Other guests include “the incomparable Barbra Streisand,” who appears not to be reinventing herself, but who will discuss her “passion — women and heart disease”; Jennifer Lopez, discussing her reinvention post-“American Idol”; Demi Lovato, discussing her reinvention pre-“X Factor”; and Sharon and Lexie Love, whose daughter/sister Yeardley was murdered two years ago by her ex-boyfriend at the University of Virginia.

And Couric’s wasting no time rolling out the first of her “experts” in the form of research professor/motivational speaker Brene Brown, whose new book, “Daring Greatly,” inspired Katie as she embarked on a daring new adventure of her own: launching “Katie,” Disney said Tuesday.

Sound familiar? It’s right out of the Oprah Winfrey Playbook.

Speaking of Oprah, the former Queen of Daytime TV is once again the country’s highest-paid celebrity, Forbes magazine says, because she can take a $125 million bath and still wind up with revenue of $165 million, thanks in part to the revenue enjoyed by her Harpo Productions and those Oprah’s Experts spinoff shows starring Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz.

By  |  06:22 PM ET, 08/28/2012

 
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