As a fellow journalist, we have the utmost respect for Katie Couric. She was one of the reasons for “The Today Show” staying strong for so long, and as a anchor for the CBS Evening News she was a trailblazer for all women in that field. With everything that she has had an opportunity to do in the past decade, we’re not sure if there is a person more enviable in the business.
Thanks to all of this, our expectations for the series premiere of “Katie” on Monday afternoon were high. We have a show fronted by someone who is smart, funny, and not afraid to ask tough questions; but in spite of all of this, both Couric and the show chose to play it a little safe.
First things first, producers went for headlines rather than interesting stories with Jessica Simpson as a lead-in guest. This is not to say that Jessica is a terrible interview, or that we are apathetic towards what she has been through when it comes to the media hounding her about her weight or her life in general for that matter. What we were looking to see from the show was something new, whether it be a new perspective, something to laugh at, or talk about with our friends. We wanted to be opened up to the world in ways that Katie has done so many times in her career. Instead, we ended up feeling settled into an interview about motherhood, cravings, and things that are are easy for many to relate to, but not exactly that interesting. Either Katie or Jessica needed to have more fun; it was either that or this interview should have been cut down to ten minutes and placed in the middle of the show. Even Jessica’s big weight-loss reveal was slightly muted; she didn’t announce how much she has lost other than saying that it was at least 40 pounds, and her commercial for Weight Watchers was more or less restrained.
Couric’s later interview with Sheryl Crow (who performs the show’s theme song) was slightly better, if for no other reason than that we sensed a greater comfort level between the two friends. Crow shared a personal story about Lance Armstrong and their prior relationship, and Katie let us into her own world as a single woman in her fifties.
If “Katie” is meant to be a lighthearted show mostly about fluff, then the premiere Monday probably suffices. However, it is not as entertaining as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and it lacks the punch that made “Oprah” the queen of daytime for so many years. The best part of the premiere was a joke with Matt Lauer at the beginning, and it was over before Katie even sat down.
Granted, this is just episode one, and we’d watch again given that it takes talk shows time to find its footing. Katie may be experienced, but this is still a new world for her. Let’s just hope she figures out her place in the landscape soon.
If you want to read up about another talk show launching Monday via Jeff Probst, be sure and read the story here.