Katie Couric has her long-awaited Disney/ABC deal: The broadcaster announced that Couric has signed a "multi-platform" deal in which she'll work for ABC News while launching a new syndicated series next year, or late 2012.
The time: 3 p.m., and what's interesting is that ABC is not actually canceling current resident "General Hospital," but it's also not entirely clear what it's doing to the four-decade-old soap.
Oh well. Such are the vagaries of the TV biz.
"I’m very happy to be returning to the network where I began my career as a desk assistant in 1979. It is tremendously exciting to have the creative freedom to develop my own show with Anne Sweeney, the Disney/ABC-TV Group and Jeff, and to contribute to such a vibrant, innovative news division. I can’t wait to be part of this incredibly talented, visionary team.”
The deal is described as "multi-platform," which means a bunch of things -- notably that she won't merely be a daytime talking head - and details on the show were very sparse indeed (no name; to be based in NYC.) Mostly she'll do news specials at ABC starting this summer, which ABC's way of obviously preventing its new franchise player from disappearing before her new daytime series starts.
And yes, Disney/ABC clearly owns a financial stake in this new venture.
Here's the line on "GH" -- which isn't exactly twisting in the wind, but isn't exactly in the most secure spot either:
The eight ABC Owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh/Durham and Fresno, which represent nearly 23% of the nation’s TV households, have already cleared the new show in the 3 p.m. time slot. As part of the announcement, the network is set to return the last hour of its Daytime network block to affiliates no earlier than September 2012, but continues to support “General Hospital,” and the plans to launch “The Chew” in September of this year and “The Revolution” in January 2012.