“Katie” clears 60% of U.S. for Fall ’12 launch

Disney-ABC Domestic Television Distribution’s new fall 2012 talk show strip featuring Katie Couric has now been cleared in 60 percent of the country.

Titled Katie, the series has now cleared though several broadcast groups including Allbritton, Belo, Cox, Hearst, Gannett, and Scripps, in addition to the entire ABC-owned-and-operated station group (including WLS-TV here in Chicago.)

To no one’s surprise, most of the affiliates cleared thus far are with ABC, as they were targeted in the first place. All ABC affiliates in the top twelve markets are carrying the show at either 3 or 4 p.m. But several NBC affiliates and and a Fox station have also picked up Katie, including NBC affiliates KING-TV in Seattle; KCRA-TV in Sacramento; and WLTV in Jacksonville. The lone Fox affiliate to pick Katie up thus far is WVUE-TV in New Orleans.

As far as other Midwest clearances go, Katie was sold to WXYZ-TV in Detroit; WISN-TV Milwaukee; WCPO-TV in Cincinnati; KMBC-TV in Kansas City, Mo., WRTV in Indianapolis and WBAY in Green Bay, Wis.- all ABC affiliates.

ABC plans to give the 3 p.m. (ET) time slot back in September so stations can air Katie, displacing General Hospital – which could result in its cancellation, since two other ABC soaps (All My Children and One Life To Live) bit the dust. But given the very lackluster performance of new cooking/lifestyle strip The Chew at 1 p.m., GH could wind up replacing the struggling show.

Disney-ABC has high hopes for Katie Couric as the syndicator hopes to raise its low profile in the marketplace. Currently, Disney-ABC has only two first-run strips on the air – Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Live with Regis & Kelly (whose name will change after next month when Regis Philbin departs) – and a handful of off-network series, including Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy.

Earlier, NBC Universal cleared a new talk show from Steve Harvey on its ten NBC-owned stations (including WMAQ-TV here in Chicago), and just this past week inked a deal with Sinclair Broadcasting (owners of duopoly WCGV and WVTV in Milwaukee) to air a new talk show hosted by British personality Trisha Goddard, with a big name, top-market station group soon likely to follow. Other talkers still looking for clearances include Twentieth’s Ricki Lake and CBS Television Distribution’s Jeff Probst.