The answer to how well this show does will say a lot about American TV, changing audience tastes, talk show hosts, ratings, and network income, analysts say.
After 15 years at NBC’s “Today Show” and five years as anchor and news director of “The CBS Evening News,” can Couric’s combination of personality, perkiness, and gravitas draw viewers, especially in a schedule jammed with alternatives? Those will include former “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, comedian Steve Harvey, Britain’s Trish Goddard, and the return of veteran Ricki Lake.
Some suggest the answer may not say anything about Couric’s abilities at all.
“Maybe there is a saturation point that will nullify her success, which has nothing to do with her intrinsic qualities,” says Len Shyles, professor of communication at Villanova University. “Steve Harvey, Maury Povich, The View, The Five, Dr. Phil, Morning Joe, Imus on cable, The Today Show, Kelly Ripa. On and on. The glut is obvious. She will likely fail, not because of her, but because of the nature of the beast.”
Mr. Shyles and others feel the TV landscape has changed so much that the field is wide open for a pioneer to reinvent the afternoon talk show genre.