Katie Couric, or at least her representatives, are doing a lot of talking about talk these days.
Her agent is expected to meet with people at Warner Bros. about the possibility of her hosting a daytime talk show. It would be the latest in a series of meetings over the last year concerning the future of the Today show co-host.
There's no question but that the goodwill Today viewers feel toward Couric would carry over to another project. And because of her proven draw, stations would be willing to take a chance on the project.
What's unknown, however, is whether Couric is really interested in breaking free from the morning schedule, or if this talk is an effort to extract something extra from NBC, where she's under contract until mid-2002.
"I don't think you need to play counter-offer games a year and a half in advance," said Alan Bell, head of Freedom Broadcasting, which owns eight stations. Bell said he would love to see Couric in a syndicated series because he believes that given the right format, producer and distributor, the show would be a hit.
"She certainly has the following and the personality that wears well day after day," said Bill Carroll of Katz TV, a firm that advises stations on programming. "But in the end you never know for sure."
An NBC source said that if Couric is really interested in doing a talk show, the network would do whatever it could to keep her and the show in the family.