There’s trouble in Katie Land. Alex Ben Block at The Hollywood Reporter warns her show is “teetering on the verge of cancellation,” that “soft ratings, a huge budget and ‘disdain’ for her female audience — Q Scores report only 10 percent of women view Couric favorably — have the host's Disney/ABC talk show in jeopardy as a renewal decision nears.”
The third season just began with a publicity blitz about Couric getting engaged, but “renewal seems a long shot.”
Anonymous “insiders” say the show is too hard-edged, not soft-focus enough for the 25-to-54 women viewers.
"She has a complete and utter disdain for the audience she needs to appeal to," says one former employee. "In her mind, the Today show was [the model] -- professional women getting ready for work. Anyone home after 9 o'clock are people she has no interest in appealing to. But she also loved the $20 million paycheck." The report continued:
A lot is at stake for Disney, which has an estimated $100 million invested in Couric (the cost is shared by its TV distribution arm and ABC News). Eight Disney-owned stations pay higher license fees than others; and the network gave back an hour of daytime to stations to provide a place for Katie -- an hour stations likely won't give back if the show is canceled.
"The owned stations are really carrying a burden," says an ABC affiliate GM. "There's no doubt [Katie] has damaged the lead-in to newscasts."
The Q Scores company reported in September that only 10 percent of women view Couric favorably, while 21 percent view her in a negative light. By contrast, daytime leader Ellen DeGeneres has a 29 percent positive Q score and 14 percent negative.