Katie Couric, who went from the “Today” show to CBS News anchor to a talk show to ABC News, appears to be on the move again.
Couric is negotiating to leave ABC, where she is a special correspondent, and sign with Yahoo, the online giant, to host her own streaming video interview show, according to an executive with knowledge of the situation, confirming news first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
Couric’s expected move is unusual and potentially risky. Although Yahoo is one of the most popular sites on the Web — attracting more than 197 million visitors in July, according to ComScore — television has been a far more lucrative vehicle for talk shows, with enormous syndication fees and advertising revenue for successful entrants. No Web program has ever replicated the financial success of TV talk-show stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw or Ellen DeGeneres.
Couric’s move could be a validation of Yahoo’s power to draw millions of viewers to video on the Web.
Couric, who grew up in Arlington County, has been the host of an ABC-produced talk show, “Katie,” now in its second season. Although the show has done okay in the ratings compared with other syndicated talk shows, it is expensive to produce. ABC has not made a decision on renewing “Katie,” a factor that could complicate Couric’s departure.
Couric is also a correspondent for ABC News but has been used sparingly of late. Her contract is up next year, but a source said she is negotiating an early exit to join Yahoo.
ABC, which is owned by Disney, has had a news-sharing partnership with Yahoo for the past two years, and some of Couric’s work from ABC News and her talk show have appeared in short clips on Yahoo’s home page. The companies are independent of each other.
When Couric signed with ABC in 2011 after five years as anchor of the “CBS Evening News,” news reports pegged her compensation at $40 million a year. At one point during Robin Roberts’s illness, Couric served as substitute host of “Good Morning America,” briefly bringing her into direct rivalry with NBC’s “Today” show. Couric was co-host of “Today” for more than a decade and was often credited with helping it maintain its long run as the top-rated morning program, a status it lost last year to “GMA.”