Katie Couric ready for her closeup

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT QUIT DRINKING; IT’S THE ONLY WAY - BRAD OSWALD

HOL­LY­WOOD — She’s got a slo­gan: “Smart, with heart.” She’s got a theme song, This Day, writ­ten and recorded by pop diva Sh­eryl Crow. She’s got a stu­dio — the for­mer New York City site of Who Wants to Be a Mil­lion­aire. And she’s got a new net­work home, ABC, and a fall pre­mière date, Sept. 10.

All in all, it sounds like Katie Couric is as ready as she’ll ever be to make the shift into the day­time talk-show realm.

“I’m one of those peo­ple who re­ally likes new chal­lenges,” the host of the new ABC (and, in Canada, Ci­tytv) show Katie said this week dur­ing ABC’s por­tion of the U.S. net­works’ semi-an­nual press tour in Los Angeles. “And I’m one of those peo­ple who is more than will­ing — I don’t know why — to put my­self out there and try some­thing new, come what may.

“And I think day­time, for me, is an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity, be­cause cre­atively, you get to build some­thing from scratch, to get a blank can­vas and to ac­tu­ally shape a pro­gram that tack­les some of the things that you think are im­por­tant, that you think peo­ple want to know more about, that they’re hun­gry for more in­for­ma­tion and a richer ex­pe­ri­ence than just sort of get­ting head­lines or lis­ten­ing to a three-minute in­ter­view.

“(It’s great) to not have to play beat the clock, and to roll up my sleeves and let a con­ver­sa­tion breathe and have in­tel­li­gence and hu­man­ity. I thought this would be an op­por­tu­nity to do that, and I think that’s why I wanted to dive into this genre.”

Couric, 55, ex­plained that the game plan for Katie will be to do the show live each week­day (though the show will be syn­di­cated by ABC and there­fore could air at dif­fer­ent times in dif­fer­ent mar­kets), in or­der to al­low her and her pro­duc­tion team to re­act to on­go­ing events in the U.S. and be­yond.

“In terms of what the show is go­ing to look like, it’s still a work in progress, but I think it will be, at times, a sin­gle­topic show,” she of­fered. “And other times, it may be two top­ics in one show, some­times even three. I think we’ll be talk­ing about things as var­ied as the im­pact of tech­nol­ogy on our re­la­tion­ships, on our chil­dren, sort of the best way to care for an ag­ing par­ent. A quar­ter of the adult pop­u­la­tion in this coun­try is now car­ing for an ag­ing par­ent, and I think there are a lot of peo­ple who need guid­ance and help in that. It may be dat­ing in your 40s and 50s; some­thing that I can re­late to.”

Among the re­cur­ring seg­ments be­ing con­sid­ered are one called Women Who Should Be Fa­mous, and an­other called YOLO (You Only Live Once, ap­par­ently in­spired by a song by Cana­dian rap­per Drake), which would see Couric and the Katie crew help­ing an on­go­ing se­ries of lucky view­ers to check items off their “bucket list.”

When asked what’s on her per­sonal to-do-be­fore-I-die list, Couric said she’d like to give sky­div­ing a try.

“I’ve never jumped out of an air­plane,” she said. “I’m a lit­tle afraid of heights, but I’d like to do that just be­cause I think it would be ex­cit­ing. I have no de­sire to bungee jump, though.

“And I’d like to star in a Broad­way mu­si­cal, but I don’t think that’s go­ing to hap­pen. When I au­di­tioned for my high school mu­si­cal, Carnival, they cast me ac­tu­ally as a deaf mute. That’s a true story, and it was very hu­mil­i­at­ing. So I went to my drama teacher ... and I ob­jected. And he ac­tu­ally then gave me the role of a danc­ing bear. So I would love to be in a Broad­way mu­si­cal, even if I were just a part of the cho­rus and just got to be on­stage, be­cause I think that would be re­ally ex­cit­ing.

“And I’d like to go out with Ge­orge Clooney, if you can ar­range that.”

RICK ROW­ELL / ABC

Katie Couric an­swers ques­tions about her new day­time show

at ABC’s press tour

in Los Angeles.

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