After pouring countless millions into Katie Couric's talk show, it appears to be facing cancellation in September of 2014, which is when the contract with the affiliates ends.
The show currently costs $35 million; originally it was $50 million, while Disney/ABC stated that soap operas were too expensive to produce. Around that time, Disney/ABC gave its CEO, Bob Iger, a $10 million raise, to $28 million.
The projected ratings for Couric were 2.5; it now hovers around 1.8, up from 1.7 in her first season."
As has been emphasized over and over on this site, the station owners are the key to keeping shows on the air. They are unhappy with Katie Couric and Disney/ABC is being pressured to make a decision.
One other point. Over and over, one hears, "It's business. It's all about money." I guess Couric is the exception to that, but I disagree with that statement. Networks are not primarily in the business of making money. Banks are in the business of making money, stores are in the business of making money, hot dog stands are in the business of making money.
Networks are in the business of entertainment. They are supposed to give the public the kind of entertainment it wants. They are not supposed to make unilateral decisions that because reality shows, talk shows, and game shows are cheaper to produce, that's what they should do, whether or not the public wants a glut of them.
Who knows this? The affiliates. They're the ones who suffer if everyone is watching The Steve Harvey Show and they were seduced into licensing Katie.
Businesses today very often fosters a culture of thinking of themselves first and the public second. I worked in an industry that dried up because budgets were cut in companies where executives were making millions upon millions of dollars and people were laid off and not replaced.
We only need to look at the example set by our government. Government employees are not being paid, but the Congressmen and Senators continue to draw their salaries. There was a time when politicians would hide something like that. Now they make no bones about it.
It's time for business and government to serve the public. And it is time that the networks started to think about their primary business, entertainment. Granted, they have tremendous competition today with cable and the Internet. But the answer isn't to eliminate programs and cut the rest to the bare bones.
When the public is unhappy, the moral here is to put pressure on the people who are the bread and butter of the networks, the affiliates and the cable companies.
Case in point: SOAPnet. There was a big announcement in 2011 that SOAPnet was going off the air and being replaced by Disney Junior.
Eventually, SOAPnet will be gone. For now, 60 million viewers still have it. Yes, some cable companies carry Disney Junior. Now Disney/ABC says that Disney Junior was always going to be a transition, not an immediate replacement. Right. That's why they announced SOAPnet was going off the air in 2012. Obviously they thought everyone was going to jump on Disney Junior.
As we saw with General Hospital, which was doomed, as you recall, it's just not over. The public will decide when it's over. Not the network.