Is Katie Couric the new Oprah?

The former CBS Evening News anchor will host a syndicated daytime talk show on ABC in 2012, attempting to fill the void left by the end of The Oprah Winfrey Show

Katie Couric says her new ABC daytime talk show, which launches in fall 2012, will be similar to Oprah's old show.
(Image credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Katie Couric's network trifecta is complete. Couric officially announced on Monday — the same day that Scott Pelley made his "straightforward and dry" debut as her CBS Evening News successor — that she will launch a syndicated daytime talk show on ABC in fall 2012. That means that Couric will have hosted a show on all three major networks. The still-untitled program will air at 3 p.m., a time slot currently occupied by an "in jeopardy" General Hospital, and filling the late afternoon talk show void recently left by Oprah Winfrey. Indeed, in an interview with Jay Leno Monday night, Couric hinted at her desire to emulate the Queen of Talk's style. Can Couric "fit in Oprah's heels"?

"Two words: no way": Couric "should have an easier time" in her new afternoon time slot than she did hosting the nightly news, but "nobody could fill Oprah's shoes," says Jon Friedman at MarketWatch. Sure, Couric will be "in her element" hosting a daytime talk show, which is a lot more like the Today show, where Couric thrived, than the august CBS Evening News, where she had a tough time. But compare Couric — or anyone — to Oprah, and they are "a mere contender for the throne."

"Katie Couric can never take Oprah's place"

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If anyone can do it, Katie can: "Here comes Katie Couric!" says Donna Kaufman at iVillage. The few details that Couric teased about her new show suggest that she'll use her "hard-news pedigree to rise above the daytime competition." Couric boasts the "sunny personality to stay there," meaning she could be the right woman to "fill that Oprah-shaped hole in your heart."

"Katie Couric inks talk-show deal with ABC"

No, the "next Oprah" will be plucked from obscurity: "People like Oprah — true media phenomena — tend to make themselves in that mold by coming out of nowhere," says James Poniewozik at TIME. In contrast, Couric is already known as a news person, and has a well-established image. Couric is popular enough to find "reasonable success," but the "next Oprah" will more likely be "an unknown quantity." Couric would have been better off staying at Today, but "made the mistake" of leaving for a "supposedly 'higher-tier' job," simply because "that's just what you're supposed to do."

"Couric gets a talk show: Is she the right woman for the right (day)time?"

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