Katie Couric‘s syndicated daytime talk show will be entering its second season with an entirely new team of senior producers and a director. Two weeks after Rachel Miskowiec was brought in as new executive producer, she has made a staffing changes, with co-executive producers Kathy Samuels and Ethan Nelson as well as director Joseph Terry departing. Katie launched last fall with Jeff Zucker as executive producer and Samuels and Michael Bass as co-exec producers. Zucker and Bass have since left for CNN, with Michael Morrison and Nelson joining in January as executive producer and co-exec producer, respectively. (Matt Strauss also was bumped to co-EP then.) Morrison left late last month, replaced by Miskowiec, who is expected to install her own team.
The changes follow 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 with fellow rookie Steve Harvey, which has edged Katie in the key women 25-54 demographic for the second part of the season, including the recent May sweep. 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 Manti Te’o interview, which averaged almost 3.8 million viewers in January.) The search for direction was acerbated by the departure of Zucker, who was a strong authoritative figure, with rumors circulating that Katie may not continue beyond the original two-season pickup. The show is scheduled to stay in production until the last week of July before going on a monthlong hiatus.