Television host Katie Couric, who Rush Limbaugh once said singlehandedly destroyed CBS News, may not see her current show on the air before it reaches a third season.
The New York Post reports behind the scenes of “Katie,” sources say “the show has weathered drama since the departure of executive producer Jeff Zucker, creating a ‘very stressful’ situation with ‘staffing weirdness’ and ‘no one making decisions.’”
Zucker, who launched “Katie” in September 2012, left the program to become head of worldwide operations at CNN.
The Post says buzz inside ABC has been that Couric could leave the show after its second season and rejoin Zucker at CNN.
“The show was oversold at syndication and hasn’t lived up to expectations,” a TV source told the Post. “Now everyone at ABC is gossiping that Katie will end up at CNN with Jeff.”
But the paper also says sources close to Couric deny any pending move to CNN, stressing she has a deal with ABC.
The staff at “Katie” says Zucker’s departure turned the talk show into a “sh-t show”.
“Jeff’s departure left a void,” said a source. “Then they had four co-executive producers and the staffing decisions being made were poor. Katie was left vulnerable.”
Another added, “There wasn’t a figure who could keep control. It became challenging because of the way that Jeff left. There’s been creative tension.”
In April, Zucker brought “Katie” co-executive producer Michael Bass to CNN to be a senior VP at the cable news network.
And more staff cuts are expected in the coming days.
“They’re hoping the cleanup goes in the right direction for next year,” a source said.
In 2011, as news spread that Couric would be departing as anchor of the CBS Evening News less than five years after becoming the first woman to solely helm a network TV evening newscast, radio giant Rush Limbaugh said Couric simply “destroyed” the network when it comes to viewership.
“I’m sorry, Katie, but you know facts are facts,” Limbaugh said at the time. “You guys might own the narrative, but we have the facts here, and ‘CBS Evening News’ ratings are the lowest in history. And don’t think if that ever happened to my ratings, people would report that. I’m sure the stories are already written. … The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, that she destroyed it. The network news ratings for CBS just plummeted.”
Before anchoring at CBS, Couric was the popular co-host of NBC’s “Today” show.
In 2007, a poll of America Online users found 8 in 10 respondents say the move by the former “Today” co-host to CBS was a bad decision for both Couric and the Tiffany Network.
With some 300,000 votes in the unscientific survey, 82 percent responded “No” when asked “Was switching to CBS a good move for Couric?” and 78 percent also answered in the negative when asked, “Was choosing Couric a good move for CBS?”
More than a thousand personal comments were posted underneath the survey, with one reader referring to her as a “balloon animal:”
- “Katie is not a journalist or a reporter. She is a speck of fluff blowing on the breath of her handlers. She is vacuous and inane. An overly submissive chimp on crack. … I was an avid watcher of the CBS news and now must look elsewhere for actual news delivered by an actual news organization and a real news anchor. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. It’s because Katie Couric has all of the substance of a balloon animal, and CBS has gone out of its way to demonstrate to me and the rest of the world that hard-hitting news reporting is not a priority to them in the least. Give her a cup of coffee and a silly costume to wear and let her lob her softballs on some joke of a morning show where she belongs.” (wtown6)