Sunday, April 14, 2024

Katie Couric: Big Day for Her and “General Hospital”


Today Katie Couric goes where many have tried and failed. After being miscast as a TV nightly news anchor, Couric starts her hour long daily talk show at 3pm. Her talent is interviews and talking to people, not at single cameras. So she shouldn’t have any trouble getting her subjects to say something interesting even when they’re vacuous or not particularly scintillating.

This week it’s all Jessica Simpson (whose reason for fame is not quite clear anymore) and Jennifer Lopez comes up soon. In the next few weeks Katie will hit the rhythm of mixing real life stories with celebrities promoting their movies, music, TV shows, etc. It will take six months before anyone knows if Couric’s doing well, or what’s working on the show and what isn’t. At least we know in advance that her show can’t be nearly as bad as ABC’s “The Chew” or “The Revolution.”

Sort of lurking in the foreground of Katie’s success is the soap “General Hospital.” Given a stay of execution last spring, “General Hospital” moves today to 2pm after 49 years at 3pm. In April, the show will celebrate its 50th anniversary. But ifs life expectancy isn’t good. ABC was trying to leave the soap business last year when it cancelled “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” then participated in a strange and murky non-deal with a company called Prospect Park to put those shows online. It never happened, and made everyone angry.

Even though “General Hospital” has had a renaissance of sorts this spring and summer under new producers and writers, the ratings have remained disappointing. This could be because its 2pm lead-in was the godawful “Revolution” and then “Good Afternoon America.” Moving to 2pm means “The Chew”–not as dreadful but still not much of anything– will be the new lead-in. “General Hospital” will have to improve at least a little at 2pm–where there is no competition anymore at CBS or NBC. Otherwise, ABC will certainly think of some other new mundane, inane, cheap offering to replace it for good.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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