In a long overdue move, Disney-ABC Television Distribution canceled second-year daytime talk show Katie, with Katie Couric. The series is wrapping up production in June 2014.
The handwriting for Katie was on the wall when Couric exited ABC a month ago to join Yahoo for an estimated $6 million a year. Even though Yahoo would let Couric continue with her daytime show, everyone in the industry knew it would end this season.
Couric debuted in a crop with four other talk shows in September 2012, the most since 1995, when eight new shows debuted. Of those five, only Steve Harvey and Trisha Goodard (whose show’s future is also up in the air) still remain.
The talk show was part of an overall deal with ABC and their news division (when it was announced, yours truly dubbed it as “the worst syndication deal of all time.”)
So far season-to-date, Katie has averaged a 0.9 rating in the female 25-54 demo, tied with The Steve Wilkos Show for eighth place, down 10 percent from last year.
Two weeks ago, Lewis Lazare of Chicago Business Journal reported that Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show on WMAQ-TV beat Katie locally in households at 3 p.m. in the recently completed November sweeps, marking the first time in over 35 years that WLS-TV lost the time period (which would take us back to the days when WLS ran a daily afternoon movie!) The 2.2 household rating Katie earned also has to be a historic low in the key early fringe time period for WLS.
Meant to replace The Oprah Winfrey Show on the ABC-owned stations, Katie was cleared predominantly on ABC affiliates, including all the top fifteen markets. But the program was unable to meet ratings expectations and became too expensive for stations, even for those owned by ABC.
As yours truly alluded to a few weeks ago – and if the ABC O&Os don’t have a replacement lined up by fall – look for WLS to move previous time period occupants Inside Edition and Jeopardy! back to their 3-4 p.m. time slots, with the 2 p.m. slot either filled by Windy City Live or something else.