Every since Oprah Winfrey ventured off the daytime TV circuit, the talk show world has been a bit blah. Sure you have Ellen DeGeneres dancing her way to ratings success, and a couple other hosts maintaining a solid reputation, but no one has yet to reach the pop culture icon status that Oprah has. And perhaps no one will, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. Two serious contenders have entered the field in Steve Harvey and Katie Couric, but do they have what it takes to hit it big in the talk show world?
Both will debut their respective shows in Ms. Winfrey’s hallowed 3pm time-slot, which has remained unoccupied since May 2011, when her show ended. Couric and Harvey are both optimistic on their odds of achieving Oprah-like success, with Couric even going so far as to acknowledge the opportunity derived from her absence. “With Oprah exiting the stage, it was okay for me to give some time for the landscape to settle before jumping into the fray. So I feel the timing worked really well for me,” she explained at a recent press event for her show.
Becoming a daytime talk host seems like an obvious transition for Couric, who struggled to achieve high ratings as anchor of CBS Evening News. As “America’s sweetheart” newscaster, the serious journalist behind a desk persona just didn’t resonate for her.
On Katie, Couric will get the opportunity to not only flex her journalistic chops, but also display her highly likeable personality that once catapulted her to success. She’s also pairing up with her old Today Show colleague Jeff Zucker, who is producing her show. He’s a seasoned vet who can help Couric find her rhythm in the daytime talk world. Her old fans will undoubtedly tune in, but what’s her capacity for reaching an audience as broad and diverse as the one Oprah once commanded?