EXCLUSIVE: The rumored post-season changeover at Katie Couric’s daytime syndicated talk show is a reality. I’ve learned that veteran daytime talk show producer Rachel Miskowiec will be joining Katie as executive producer for the upcoming second season. She will replace Michael Morrison, who came on board in January, succeeding original executive producer Jeff Zucker who left to take over CNN. The move comes a month after original Katie co-executive producer Michael Bass followed his former boss Zucker to CNN. (He was replaced by Ethan Nelson, with producer Matt Strauss also getting a bump to serve as co-exec producer alongside Kathy Samuels.) The shakeup also follows a rocky freshman season for Katie.
After a strong opening, the show slipped in the ratings. Its numbers eventually leveled off and Katie remained No.1 in households among all freshmen for the entire season but it has been running neck and neck in households and total viewers with fellow rookie Steve Harvey, which has been edging Katie in the key women 25-54 demographic. Katie also has been struggling with its identity, with Couric, who also serves as exec producer, reportedly pushing for news-making interviews and more serious journalistic approach normally reserved for in-depth news programs like 60 Minutes as opposed to daytime TV’s conventional emphasis on lighter fare and celebrities. (Katie drew its largest audience to date with the January Manti Te’o interview, which averaged almost 3.8 million viewers.) With Katie searching for direction, I hear Morrison, who helped launch Late Night With Conan O’Brien, never quite fit in a tough environment. Such growing pains are not unusual for a daytime talk show. CBS’ The Talk went through controversial executive producer and co-host changes during and after its freshman season but, after a rough start, has become a success story.
Most recently an executive producer at Telepictures Prods., Miskowiec previously served as executive producer on The Tyra Banks Show, garnering two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Informative Talk Show, the same category Katie landed its first Emmy nomination in this year. She also executive produced talk shows Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers on the CW and Your Best Life Now on OWN and early on spent more than eight years on the syndicated Ricki Lake Show, rising to supervising senior producer. Distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Katie is in the midst of a two-year deal with the ABC O&O stations.
UPDATE 8:30 AM Disney-ABC Domestic Television just officially announced Miskowiec’s appointment. “Rachel Miskowiec is an incredibly passionate and experienced veteran of daytime TV,” said Vicki Dummer, EVP, ABC Media Group. “She is creative, smart and a great leader. Rachel is fearless and competitive, and she truly loves making daytime television. We are very excited to have her join the ‘Katie’ team as we enter our second season.”