Former NBC Universal Chief Executive Officer Jeff Zucker appears to be lining up his next gig — the buzz is that he’s starting a syndicated talk show featuring “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric.
Word of a possible Zucker-Couric venture comes as the 54-year-old anchor nears the end of her five-year contract, which nets her $15 million this year.
Rumor is Couric, whose contract expires in May, recently rebuffed approaches from several parties who wanted to work with her – including a reported deal to put her back at “Today.”
The two have a long working relationship that began at NBC’s dominate morning show. The story goes like this: The two have been putting their heads together to create a new show format that could potentially replace reigning talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.
Zucker closed out his 25-year NBC career last week in Miami at the National Association of Television Producers and Executives (NAPTE), a television industry conference where producers shop their syndicated-show concepts to station groups.
Speaking of NATPE
During my time there I attended the “World Programming Supersession,” where I got a glimpse of some of the shows that are popular around the world. As you know, many U.S. hits are exported abroad. Well, it works both ways. Broadcasters here often look at what’s working in other markets.
From Brazil (Brasil, if you prefer — they do) we have “La Mujer Perfecta” or “The Perfect Woman,” a show about six women who’ll undergo just about anything, including plastic surgery, to become the titleist.
From Denmark, there’s “Too Fat To Fight,” which offers a boot camp weight-loss program that makes “The Biggest Loser” look like a Sunday stroll. Then there’s “Oh Oh Cherso,” a.k.a. “What Happens In ... “which one NATPE-goer called a “Jersey Shore” look alike.
Personally, I hope ‘“what happens in” reality stays away from the U.S. market.
n Liz writes: “I am sorry to see Regis retire because he is an excellent interviewer who is truly interested in people and what they have to say. He does not let his ego get in the way as does his co-host. I love his crotchety moments because it makes him so human. I also enjoy seeing a well dressed man who takes pride in his appearance. This also is a sign of respect for his guests. I enjoy the dialogue but seldom enjoy the show when he is absent.”
Well said Liz. I met the well-dressed Philbin recently in Miami. I can tell you he acts exactly the same off camera as on. Refreshing. If you missed my column in last Sunday’s Naples Daily News, check out my Regis interview at naplesnews.com.
n Joan Gavin writes: Can you explain why we do not receive Regis and Kelly here in Naples? I miss seeing them at 9 a.m. Thanks for any info.
I have good news for you. “Live’s” dynamic duo are still on, they just switched stations last fall. The show now airs on WINK (Channel 5 if you have Comcast).
n James writes: “Mr. Green — You do write a very informative column. But when you stray into criticism that has no actual proof of its accuracy, you do a disservice to yourself and the newspaper. You describe Comcast as “a company that has a reputation for poor service” without any basis of fact. Of course there are individual instances where someone is dissatisfied with service from Comcast or any other company. I guess it is the old adage of the squeaky wheel getting the grease that leads you to your conclusion. I subscribe to Comcast cable TV with HD and all the bells and whistles, and also to their excellent high-speed Internet service connection which gives outstanding service. I live up north for a few months in the summer and have TV and Internet service from MetroMedia. Now there is a company from hell! Comcast is like a breath of fresh air when we return each fall.”
James, glad to hear that you’ve had a good experience with Comcast. I apologize for not sharing my basis of fact in the earlier column: Comcast’s customer service problems are well known and have been acknowledged by the company, which launched a nationwide campaign a while back to better its image.
n Kathy writes: “I just watched the finale of ‘Medium’ and had to share my feelings with someone who might understand. I always appreciate your points of view and I thought I’d just share mine. I’ve watched ‘Medium’ since it started, following it to different channels and days, so I was very disappointed when I heard it was ending. Tonight I tuned in to watch Alison, Joe and their girls for one last time. What a disappointment! It was one of the most unsatisfying ending to a series that I have seen. I wonder how other fans of the show felt.”
So fans, how did you feel? Let me know.
If you have something to say or a question to ask, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
TLC takes balloon art to new heights
Full-blown fun on TLC with “The Unpoppables,” a new six-part series following the innovative world of balloon art. Premiering at 8 p.m., Monday, the show follows Addi, Katie and Brian – the uniquely talented staff at New Balloon Art — as they twist and tie balloons of all colors, shapes and sizes into elaborate, large-scale creations.
In each half-hour episode, the team is commissioned to create an outof this world balloon installation for a special event or occasion.
After meeting with the client to determine a theme, Addi, Katie and Brian get to work conceptualizing and creating – working with an average of 15,000 balloons to build a latex work of art in under 72 hours.
From a life-size fire truck for a firefighter museum to the first-ever balloon wedding, complete with balloon dress, balloon altar, and giant balloon cake, the dramatic pieces require intricate and extensive balloon work, as well as engineering know-how. The New Balloon Artists are the best in the business, and with a lot of latex and a ton of imagination, you never know what they’ll blow up next.
‘Nautical Mile’ debuts
Nautical Mile Radio premiered its first weekly two-hour show live on The Avenue, AM 1410/1660 Jan. 23.
The show is live on Sunday mornings from 8-10 a.m. with a signal that reaches from North Fort Myers to Marco Island. The show can be tuned in locally or listened to online.
Weekly radio shows are two hours long and include an upcoming marine event calendar, local news, boat show information, product reviews, fishing and bait reports, live interviews and on-location broadcasting.
Listeners can call the host or guest of the show with their questions or comments on the boating and fishing industry in Southwest Florida.
Said host Jim Griffiths: “There is no one place to gather information about the marine community. What better venue for a radio show about the industry, since Southwest Florida has over 75,000 registered boats, more than 60 fishing tournaments, almost 50 boating access restaurants, and over 700 miles of canals.”
Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com journalist with a secret life as a couch potato. Contact him at email@example.com.