In an interview with John Nogawski, president, CBS Television Distribution, Broadcasting & Cable revealed that Disney/ABC Domestic Television is spending roughly $80 million just to get its Katie Couric hosted talker, aptly named “Katie,” off the ground in the next couple of weeks.
“I think [Disney/ABC] cut a bad deal,” said Nogawski. “They did get very large license fees, but the majority of those license fees are attributed to ABC’s owned-and-operated stations. ['Katie'] is going to have to do a very large number for them to make money.” By comparison, CTD is spending roughly $30 million to launch “The Jeff Probst Show” ($24 million on production, $6 million on promotion).
Prior to our posting the press release from the Disney/ABC Television Stations Group which revealed the premiere date of “Katie,” Soap Opera Network learned via its sources that ABC had quietly been informing their affiliates of the pending cancellation of “The Revolution,” which has greatly underperformed in key demographics and viewership compared to the series it replaced (“One Life to Live”) back in January.
While this in no way guarantees “General Hospital’s” placement on the Fall 2012-2013 ABC Daytime schedule once the network cedes the soaps timeslot to affiliates beginning Monday, September 10, the fact that “GH” continuously increases its audience over the performance of “Revolution” in all categories including an uptick of over 900,000 viewers (2.34 million for “GH” vs 1.40 million for “Revolution”), a 100% gain in Women 18-49 rating (1.0 demo for “GH” vs 0.5 for “Revolution”), and a 66% gain in Women 18-34 rating (0.5 for “GH” vs 0.3 for “Revolution”) during the week of March 5-9, 2012 places “GH” in a better position of continuing beyond this summer.
As previously reported, a decision on the future of “General Hospital” is expected to be made in mid-April. Should the soap continue beyond the launch of “Katie,” it is expected to move to 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT/CT timeslot on the ABC Television Network.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On June 6, 2011, ABC finally announced (after months of rumors) that it had signed a deal with former “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric to host a new daily syndicated talk show, and that said show would replace veteran soap opera “General Hospital” in the 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT/CT timeslot. Initially the decision brought fear to soap opera fans, who only two months prior learned that ABC Daytime’s two other veteran soaps (“All My Children” and “One Life to Live”) would be replaced by two new food and lifestyle centered talk shows (“The Chew” and “The Revolution”). Now nearly a year since the announcement it looks like Katie Couric may just be the lifesaver “General Hospital” desperately needs.
According to TV Guide‘s Michael Logan, sources have informed him that the talk show host and her executive producer (former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker) have expressed their concern to the Disney/ABC Television Group brass, producers of her new talk show, in regards to the poor ratings performance that has been “The Revolution” – Since the talk shows debut in January the program hovers at just over 1.5 million viewers on average. By comparison, “One Life to Live,” which “Revolution” replaced, averaged more than 2.3 million viewers on average and performed better in key sales demos during the same period of time on the year-ago. “Couric and Zucker want to see ’GH’ get that slot because it’s a stronger show, Nielsen-wise, plus Couric does not want to face the wrath of ‘GH’ fans and risk the chance they’ll organize a boycott. Who the hell needs that? So she and Zucker want ‘The Revolution’ to go bye-bye,” the website stated.
With “General Hospital’s” recent uptick in key demos and total viewers since the new dynamic duo of Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati (executive producer and head writer) debuted just a few short weeks ago, for the first time in over a year the soap finally has a fighting chance, but will ABC listen? “They may not have a choice,” said Logan. “In fact, they might even agree at this point. Our spies at Times Square Studios — the new tag for ABC Daytime — tell us the commitment to nonscripted shows remains firm in the ABC daypart but no one is doing handstands over the ones currently in development, which include a doctor show and a game show. While ABC technically has time (though not much) to replace ‘The Revolution’ with more reality, that option is looking way too chancy.”
Should ABC end up keeping “GH” on the air and canceling “The Revolution,” the soap will move to the 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM CT/PT timeslot beginning in September. According to sources, a decision on the eventual outcome on either series will not be made until at least mid-April.
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Beginning in September 2012, ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando, Florida will begin airing a new daily syndicated talk show from comedian and radio host Steve Harvey reports the Orlando Sentinel. The affiliate plans to launch the program in the soon to be vacated 3:00 PM timeslot, which will be ceded to affiliates nationally by the ABC Television Network at that time. Does this mean to ultimate demise of “General Hospital,” which currently occupies the timeslot? Before you say yes, let’s take a moment to think rationally.
As previously reported, the Disney/ABC Television Group (herein after referred to as the DATG) announced in June of this year that it plans to launch a new daily syndicated talk show of its own with Katie Couric as host. Appropriately titled “Katie,” the Couric hosted talker is already cleared to air on more than 60% of the country on a number of ABC affiliates including the ABC O&O stations in New York and Los Angeles (WABC and KABC, respectively). Although the initial idea was to give ABC affiliates a new program to air in the current “GH” slot as well as provide DATG with a broader profit share than that of a soap opera, the DATG’s ultimate goal is to make money. With “Katie” syndicated, any affiliate including affiliates from NBC, CBS, FOX, etc could pick up the series. This was confirmed on Monday, October 24 when the company announced that Seattle’s NBC affiliate KING had picked up “Katie” over the ABC affiliate KOMO. With news of WFTV picking up Harvey’s talk show, word leaked that NBC’s competing Orlando affiliate WESH Channel 2 had chosen to pick up Katie’s show, although there is no guarantee the station will air “Katie” at 3:00 PM as planned by the DATG in much of the country. So what does this mean for “General Hospital?” At no point has ABC or the DATG announced that “General Hospital” has in fact been canceled. This has been made ever more clear as a network spokesperson has repeatedly reminded us and our readers of the following:
“The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of ‘General Hospital.’ Rather it means that in September 2012 we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows. We’ll have options for the Daytime daypart just like we do each year with Primetime. We believe in all of our shows and the ones that our viewers want, will be the ones that continue. There are MANY options that could happen…only time will tell…we are simply giving ourselves options for the future, which is a smart way to do business. The best way to ensure a favorite show stays on the air is to watch it.”
While that statement may not help calm the fears of the fans of “General Hospital” from thinking the end is near, the fact that WFTV has picked up Steve Harvey does not mean that the soap will be canceled just because various ABC affiliates are now announcing their post “GH” at 3:00 PM plans. Remember the affiliates didn’t make the decision to stop airing “GH” in its current timeslot. Disney/ABC, when it announced its deal with Katie Couric in June, informed their stations that as of September 2012 they will no longer be providing a national network product in the timeslot for the first time in more than 48 years. WFTV, by not picking up “Katie,” needed another program to air in the vacated timeslot as all the ABC affiliates will be doing beginning in September 2012. Some stations may find themselves airing other syndicated programs, including that from Steve Harvey, or even programming another hour of their local news. In fact, a North Carolina ABC affiliate is rumored to be putting on Anderson Cooper‘s new show in the “GH” slot beginning in September.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As previously reported, ABC soap opera “General Hospital” will lose its coveted 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM CT/PT timeslot beginning in September 2012 when the network hands the hour back to its local affiliates. The move will leave ABC’s daytime lineup with just three hours left to program with “The View” already secured in the 11:00 AM ET/10:00 AM CT/PT slot. New talk shows “The Chew” and “The Revolution” will go head-to-head with “General Hospital” when it comes to the almighty dollar (ie. which show brings in enough income relative to cost) in a battle for the remaining two hours (1:00 PM ET/12:00 PM CT/PT; 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM CT/PT). In place of “GH” beginning in September 2012 will be the new Disney/ABC Domestic Television syndicated series “Katie,” hosted by journalist Katie Couric, which was just cleared in over 60% of the country just six weeks after the sales period began.
Janice Marinelli, President, Disney/ABC Domestic Television announced via press release that “Katie” has been sold to a number of station broadcast groups including Allbritton Communications, Belo Corporation, Cox Media Group, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television, LIN Broadcasting, McGraw-Hill, Scripps Howard Broadcasting and Young Broadcasting. The talk show was most recently picked up by ABC affiliates WFAA Dallas, WCVB Boston, WSB Atlanta, WJLA Washington DC, WXYZ Detroit, KNXV Phoenix, and WFTS Tampa along with NBC affiliate KING Seattle, among others.
“To have garnered such exceptional clearances in this short period of time is attributable to the enduring strength of the Katie Couric brand and her wide-ranging appeal as one of the brightest, most talented and most dynamic personalities in the business,” commented Marinelli. “We are enormously pleased to partner with such a stellar group of stations across the country.”
Upon announcing the shows development back in June, Disney/ABC Domestic Television also announced that ABC’s Owned & Operated Stations Group encompassing New York’s WABC, Los Angeles’ KABC, Chicago’s WLS, Philadelphia’s WPVI, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose”s KGO, Houston’s KTRK, Durham/Raleigh/Fayetteville’s WTVD and Fresno’s KFSN would immediately begin carrying the show at launch.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As reported back in June, the Disney/ABC Television Group has hired Katie Couric to host a new daily syndicated talk show that is expected to air on virtually all ABC affiliated stations, including the eight owned and operated stations that have already signed off on the deal. The show currently titled “Katie” will debut in September 2012 during the 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT time slot currently occupied by ABC’s “General Hospital,” which will be forced to relocate to an as yet to be determined timeslot on the network.
According to TVNewser, Disney/ABC has begun sending marketing materials to station owners and advertisers in hopes of driving up support of the new show, which includes the first promotional poster for the talk show (seen at right).
“I think Katie is a unique brand in television,” said Jeff Zucker, “Katie” Executive Producer and former NBC Universal chief executive shortly after the announcement of the talker was announced in June. “The mere fact that you can just say Katie and know who we are talking about is evidence of that.”
Remembering the statements made to calm down “GH” fans, who are worried the 48-year-old soap will be the next canceled by ABC, the Disney/ABC publicity team stated back in the June the following:
“As you’ll note, we went out of our way to state that we continue to support the show,” Disney-ABC Television spokesman Kevin Brockman told CNN. “We have a long time between now and fall of 2012, so fans should be encouraged to continue watching and supporting.”
Brockman’s statement was echoed by Jori Petersen, Vice President, Publicity, ABC Daytime “The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of ‘General Hospital,’” said Petersen. “Rather it means that in September 2012, we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows. We’ll have options for the daytime daypart just like with do each year with prime-time. We believe in all of our shows and the ones that our viewers want will be the ones that continue. There are many options that could happen … only time will tell. We are simply giving ourselves options for the future, which is a smart way to do business. The best way to ensure a favorite show stays on the air is to watch it.”
According to TVNewser, “Social media and interactivity will play a big role in the show, which is still in the early stages of development. Disney-ABC is currently building out a few websites for the program, including www.TalkToKatie.com, which is expected to serve as a hub at which viewers and Couric can interact.”