Katie Couric begins the next stage of her career with "Katie," rolling out Sept. 10.
By Rob Owen Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The Oprah Winfrey era of daytime TV ended when "The Oprah Winfrey Show" wrapped up its 25-year run in 2011, and since then no program has risen up to take its place. This fall no fewer than five personality-driven daytime talk shows will premiere and vie for the opportunity to be dubbed "the new Oprah."
Sight unseen, "Katie" (3 p.m. weekdays on WTAE), hosted by Katie Couric of "Today" and "CBS Evening News" fame, may have the best chance to rise above the pack. Or it could go the way of "The Jane Pauley Show," which lasted just one season in 2004-05.
At the Television Critics Association summer press tour last month, Ms. Couric said her new show will vary from single-topic to multi-topic.
"I'm going to be able to flex all my muscles," she said. "You know, I've been in television news, I'm sorry to say, 33 years at this point. ... And so I pride myself on being able to use the right tone and the right approach and to be able to calibrate that approach depending on who I'm interviewing or the topic that I'm dealing with on any given day. So I hope that people expect me to have the ability to tackle a lot of different subjects well, from the very, very serious to much more lighthearted, feature-type stories."
Topics may include the impact of technology on relationships and the best way to care for an aging parent.
"You'll see recurring franchises on the show," Ms. Couric said. "We're going to be doing something called 'Women Who Should Be Famous,' where we'll be able to spotlight some of these remarkable women who are doing extraordinary things and not getting much attention for those things."
Another regular feature will be "YOLO," which stands for "You Only Live Once," a new take on the "bucket list" that will include participation by Ms. Couric and viewers.
Ms. Couric said "Katie" will primarily target women because, well, that's the audience available during the day. ("I think it's 20 percent men, I'm told," Ms. Couric said.)
"I hope the way I connect to them is that I've experienced a lot of the things in my own life that I think we'll be talking about," she said. "Having gone through losing a spouse at an early age and having to learn all about cancer, having to navigate dating in your 40s and 50s. Right now, I'm caring for my mother, who's 89, after my dad passed away last summer."
"Katie" will have a theme song written and performed by Sheryl Crow, and although the new talk show takes over the 3 p.m. weekday slot, it won't bump "General Hospital" off the air. "General Hospital" will move to 2 p.m. on Sept. 10 when "Katie" premieres.
Also new to WTAE
"Steve Harvey" (1:05 a.m. weekdays, Sept. 4), another new talk show, will feature the former sitcom star covering assorted topics, including marriage, dating, finance, parenting, workplace issues, etc. Mr. Harvey also will continue as host of "Family Feud."
On weekends, WTAE will air reruns of "Castle" (midnight and 1 a.m. Sundays, beginning Sept. 30) and "Private Practice" (midnight and 1 a.m. Mondays, Sept. 16).
Other new weekend syndicated shows are "Black Enterprise Report" (4 a.m. Sundays, Sept. 9) and "Cars.TV" (2:38 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 22).
The only change for KDKA-TV's roster of syndicated shows will be the return of "CSI: Miami" reruns (12:05 a.m. Sundays, Sept. 9). The show also will air on WPCW at 7 p.m. Saturdays.
Channel 19 will add "The Ricki Lake Show" (4 p.m. weekdays, Sept. 10), and, no, these are not reruns of her 1990s-era talk show. It's a new talk show with the same host and title.
At a TCA press conference last month, Ms. Lake said she's unconcerned about the competition from other newcomers.
"These shows are all personality driven. So this show that Katie Couric is going to do, or Steve Harvey is going to do, is not the show that we are going to do," Ms. Lake said. "It is a climate that there's a lot of competition right now, but I think we are just focused on doing the best show that we can for the audience that grew up watching me and then some."
WPCW also will air reruns of "Rules of Engagement" (11 p.m. weekdays, Sept. 10) and "Leverage" (8 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 15).
Channel 53's most notable change is the addition of the new court show "Justice for All With Cristina Perez" (9:30 a.m. weekdays, Sept. 17).
Channel 22 adds several new programs, including "The Jeff Probst Show" (4 p.m. weekdays, Sept. 10), starring the host of CBS's "Survivor." Mr. Probst offered a clear idea of what his show will not be at a press conference last month.
"If you're looking for Jerry [Springer] or Maury [Povich], this is not your show," Mr. Probst said. "I'm not interested in people fighting onstage. I'm not interested in paternity tests."
What exactly his show will be remains a bit unclear, but Mr. Probst said his biggest influences are Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue.
"Phil was the first that really broke it open and said, 'I'm going to take this microphone, and I'm going to ask you what you think,' " Mr. Probst said. "And then, to be completely candid, the interviewing style of Howard Stern is so underappreciated. He keeps topics moving so quickly. He knows just when to interrupt, and while he may go a different route than you would go in daytime, his ability as an interviewer is something I've studied for years, and I think he's one of the best that's ever done it."
"The Jeff Probst Show" will have a party room attached to the studio where the audience can relax, get a massage and enjoy refreshments before a taping begins.
"We want the audience to feel welcome, and we also want them to spread the word, that if you are looking for something fun to do in L.A., check out 'The Jeff Probst Show,' " Mr. Probst said. "From a show point of view, we use that party room for lots of different things that you'll see on the show. So it's a place for me to say, 'Why don't you two go back in that party room?' And we've got point of view cameras back there. It's been fairly well thought out. It was our biggest and most unique idea."
And "Survivor" fans, fear not, he'll still host the prime-time reality competition series, too. The next two seasons of "Survivor" were filmed back-to-back early this summer to allow Mr. Probst time to return to the U.S. to begin work on his talk show.
Other new series on WPMY include:
"Trisha Goddard" (11 a.m. weekdays, Sept. 17): British TV personality and "conflict-resolution expert" Trisha Goddard gets an American talk show where she will use "honesty and common sense to teach people how to move forward and push through life's obstacles," according to the show's promotional materials.
"Dish Nation" (5:30 p.m. weekdays, Sept. 10): This one's an unusual hybrid: It's a nightly entertainment news show featuring clips from major market radio shows across the country as the radio hosts banter about what's going on in the world of entertainment.
WPMY will air GSN's Jerry Springer-hosted dating show "Baggage" (11 p.m. weekdays, Sept. 17). In addition, "TMZ" moves to a new time slot, 5 p.m. weekdays, on Sept. 10.
Channel 11's daytime schedule will remain intact with no significant additions or deletions.
Farewell to 'Jersey Shore'
The party is winding down at "Jersey Shore." MTV announced Thursday that this coming season 6, which premieres Oct. 4 at 10 p.m., will be its last.
MTV will commemorate the end of the show with a host of farewell programming, beginning Thursday, with a one-hour retrospective, "Gym, Tan, Look Back."
That special premieres at 6 p.m. in the lead-up to the "2012 MTV Video Music Awards," airing live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. It will recap some of the most memorable moments from "Shore" and feature interviews with the cast and give a first sneak peek at the upcoming final season.
"Gym, Tan, Look Back" will cap a full day of "Jersey Shore" nostalgia beginning at 11 a.m. that day with an awards-themed marathon of "Shore" episodes.
'ESPN Goal Line'
Comcast's broadcast of "ESPN Goal Line" will launch this weekend for the opening of the college football season. Cut-ins to scoring drives and highlights will be available on Saturdays throughout the fall.
"ESPN Goal Line" airs on Channel 261 on traditional systems, 170 on former Adelphia systems.
Last year the "MDA Telethon" telecast switched to a new Sunday night-only format, and that returns this year with the telecast airing 8-11 p.m. Sunday on WPXI.
This will mark the telethon's 42nd year on Channel 11, and broadcasting veteran Bill Cardille will be back to host local portions of the telecast from the WPXI studios with an assist from anchors David Johnson, Peggy Finnegan and Jennifer Abney.
Local portions of the telethon will introduce viewers to 11-year-old Pittsburgher Billy Ellsworth, who is one of only 12 American boys with a specific muscular dystrophy who are participating in a gene therapy clinical trial in Columbus, Ohio.
The national telecast is expected to include appearances by Paula Abdul, All-American Rejects, Gavin DeGraw, Hot Chelle Rae, Khloe Kardashian Odom and One Republic. Carrie Underwood, Pitbull and Will.i.am will share hosting duties on the telethon, now titled "MDA Show of Strength."
Tuned In online
TV Q&A and the Tuned In podcast are on vacation this week. This week's Tuned In Journal blog includes posts on "The Office," "Dexter," "Homeland" and "Doc Martin." Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.