If you had your money on Monday, Sept. 10, as the day and date that Katie Couric would debut her new nationally syndicated talk show, you’ve won the office pool.
In a webcast Thursday to TV stations that have bought “Katie” for their lineups — including WJLA (Channel 7) in Washington — the show’s executive producer, Jeff Zucker, unveiled the “Katie” logo, which looks suspiciously like the old Oprah-show logo. Except, of course, Katie’s name starts with a “K,” so the big circle around her name is technically not an “O,” but just an incomplete bit of “O”-ness.
Zucker, who exec-produced “Today” during The Katie Years, also announced Thursday that Joe Terry had been hired to direct “Katie.” Terry spent 14 years as director for Oprah’s syndicated daytime talk show. “Katie” also has hired a co-exec producer, Kathy Samuels, whose résumé includes launching “Rachael Ray” and “Access Hollywood.”
“Katie” is being distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Thursday’s webcast was conducted from the studio in ABC’s Manhattan headquarters that will serve as the show’s home. The same studio, the show noted, served as the backdrop to the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon presidential debates.
Fox says it’s going to continue to air two-hour performance episodes of “American Idol” on Wednesday nights for the duration of the TV season.
Once upon a time, the network said it would trim the Wednesday performance episodes of “Idol” to 90 minutes, starting April 4, when there would be fewer Idolettes left standing. The network planned to use the extra 30 minutes to give a plum post-“Idol” push to the Fox sitcom “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.”
Fox’s latest announcement follows by about one week NBC’s announcement that beginning April 2, it will air live two-hour performance nights of its singing competition, “The Voice.” And beginning April 3, NBC also will expand the series to a second night with live elimination rounds.
“The Voice” has been giving “American Idol” a real run for its ratings money this spring.
Also in the “plus” column for Fox: Continuing its two-hour “Idol” episodes on Wednesdays this season will most certainly do a bit of no-good for ABC’s new comedy series, “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23,” which was going to debut April 11 at 9:30 p.m. against, ABC thought, lame “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” competish.
In its short life, that freshman Fox sitcom — about two mothers who were bullied in school who are now raising daughters who bully them at home with hilarious results — has averaged an anemic 5.8 million viewers. It’s recently been airing on Tuesday nights and this week clocked a measly 3.6 million.
In Fox’s new plan, “Teenage Daughter” will head to the shelf after it leaves Tuesdays in early April. Its remaining episodes can then join Fox’s Summer-Burnoff Theatre.
USA has nearly finished its slow, dramatic unveiling of the cast for its new Former First Family drama series, “Political Animals”: Sebastian Stan (“Captain America,” “Gossip Girl”) has been cast as the Lost-Soul Former First Son.
Early this month, USA announced that it had snagged big-screen star Sigourney Weaver to make her debut as a TV-series regular in the “event drama” from Greg Berlanti (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Everwood”) and Laurence Mark (“Dreamgirls,” “Jerry Maguire”).
The short-order series is, USA says, a fictional look at a former first lady who was married to a philandering POTUS and who is now the newly appointed secretary of state, after making a failed run at the White House.
New Secretary of State Elaine Barrish (played by Weaver) and her former-president husband, Bud Hammond, have two sons.
One is a Lost Soul (played by Stan) named T.J. who struggles with addiction. The other sibling, the Good Son, is named Douglas and is his mother’s chief of staff; he’s played by James Wolk (“Lonestar”). Douglas has a fiancee named Anne, played by Brittany Ishibashi (“Parenthood,” “Fairly Legal”).
Also in the mix is a hungry Washington journalist (played by Carla Gugino) who is bent on destroying the secretary of State’s career.
Only one more bit of major casting to announce: Who will play Bill — er, Bud.