Katie Couric 'absolutely not' the new Oprah: 6 facts about show, host (Exclusive)
Katie Couric debuts her new syndicated daytime talk show, "Katie," on September 10 and is set to interview top celebrities and unleash her inner fashionista. Just don't call her the new Oprah.
Couric, formerly of NBC's "Today" show and the CBS "Evening News," recently talked to OTRC.com host Rachel Smith about her new series, which will air on weekdays at 3 p.m. ET. It is produced by the Disney-ABC Television Group, OTRC.com's parent company.
Check out 6 facts about Katie Couric and her new series, "Katie."
1. Katie Couric is not the new Oprah.
The hit daytime series "The Oprah Winfrey Show" aired for 25 years until 2010, after which Oprah Winfrey launched a cable channel - OWN. The talk show host was dubbed the queen of daytime television.
"Whenever people suggest I'm the new Oprah, I say absolutely not, I'm the old Katie," Couric told OTRC.com. "I think that Oprah was an incredible force in daytime television and did so much good and the fact that she endured for so long, I can see now what a huge accomplishment that was because it's a grind to do this every day and to have a certain level of quality to which you aspire every single day. All I can say is I have so much admiration for her."
"No one will ever fill Oprah's shoes," she added. "Everybody brings their unique sensibility to this format and I have different life experiences than she has, I have a different background professionally than Oprah had so I think my show is going to reflect that. I think people should always have a lot respect for what she was able to do in this space."
2. Katie Couric is excited to wear more "playful" outfits on TV.
"Well you know, when I did the CBS Evening News, I had to be pretty buttoned down, or buttoned up, whichever," Couric told OTRC.com. "So I think what's nice is I can just be a little more playful and pick outfits that are just a little more fun. Because obviously I was covering very serious news when I anchored the evening news, and now we'll be doing a real variety of topics on the show. So I think I'll be able to ... let out my inner fashionista. I'm not really good at picking clothes, or picking stylish clothes, but I like to have a little bit of fun with it."
3. She is excited to showcase the real "Katie."
"I think this genre affords me the opportunity to have a lot more fun," Couric said. "I mean I'm still very interested in serious topics. We're going to look in the issue of dating violence, for example, which has increased significantly. We're going to be talking about the impact that technology is having on relationships and on our children. We're going to be talking about all sorts of important topics. But I think what this opportunity allows me to do is just really be more myself."
"I like to interact with people. I really enjoy talking to people. I like have fun with them and tease them, and tweak them," she added. "So I think you're just going to be seeing me as my friends see me on a day to day basis. People used to say I was exactly on the same off camera as I am on camera and I think because I did such a serious job at CBS, that people maybe have forgotten my playful side - so you're going to see more of that on this show.
4. She is excited to appear up close and personal before a studio audience ... and may have to prepare accordingly.
"It's very close to the front row. In fact I realize that now I have to shave my legs on a much more regular basis," she joked to OTRC.com ."They're like a foot away from me and they can see everything and I'm going to be a little self-conscious, I think, at first."
"It's so fun to have a studio audience because you get a lot of energy, you get instantaneous reactions to what you're doing - sometimes that's good, sometimes that probably is not so good," Couric said. "I really feed off their energy, and it's a fun new dynamic for me to have them all there and to be able to talk to real people instead of kind of staring into a black camera lens. And knowing that there are people out there in the audience but also at home watching. I think it helps you connect to the audience much more."
5. ... who will probably not be receiving cars.
On a Sept. 13, 2004 episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Winfrey made television history when she told members of her studio audience to look under their seat - they all received car keys - and free Pontiac G6 vehicles to go with them (watch video).
"I don't think we are going to be giving away cars," Couric told OTRC.com, regarding her own show. "That would be a great thing to do. I mean how exciting would that be to be able to give people something important?"
6. Her show will feature top celebrities.
It was recently announced that celebrity guests scheduled to appear during the first week of "Katie" include Jessica Simpson, who is set to debut her post-baby body on the air for the first time since she gave birth to her first child in May, and supermodel and "Project Runway" host Heidi Klum, who is going through a divorce with husband Seal, with whom she shares four children. Other stars set to be interviewed on Couric's show include Sheryl Crow, who also performs the program's theme song, and notoriously private Grammy-winning singer Barbra Streisand.
"I would like to talk with people who are accomplished in the entertainment field, which is actually a better name than celebrities, which I think has gotten a bad name, about their lives, their back stories, some of the challenges they face, some of the things they're interested in, the causes they believe deeply in, and the experiences that shaped them as people, and as pretentious as it sounds, their craft, how they approach certain roles, how they prepare," Couric said.
Reporting by Rachel Smith, co-host of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).