Katie Couric's long-awaited daytime show debuted on Monday, and the reviews are mixed.
The former "Today" co-host and "CBS Evening News" anchor has been preparing for "Katie" for over a year. Couric was back on air, navigating the uncharted waters of daytime TV, on Monday. She debuted with Jessica Simpson, who talked about her weight loss struggle, and Sheryl Crow as guests.
"Lackluster," "cheesy" and "cheery" were some of the words critics used to describe Couric's first day. "...if she wanted a soft opening, she got it," the New York Daily News wrote. "You could have thrown this show into a pool and created no ripples."
Critics seemed to agree that Couric won on likeability — a critical factor for success in daytime. The Daily News described her as "friendly, gentle and warm," while SF Gate said that she is still "America’s TV princess and Newsday said she "looked and sounded sharp", and The New York Times acknowledged that "Couric tried to prove to her audience that she is one of them."
However, the show drew fire for not showcasing Couric's journalistic chops. Couric's interview with Jessica Simpson — which featured Simpson's commercial for Weight Watchers and a conversation with a Weight Watchers group leader who talked about the program — raised eyebrows. SF Gate compared the segment to "an infomerical" — a sentiment echoed by the New York Daily News, which said that "Simpson primarily seemed to be promoting Weight Watchers."
SF Gate also suggested that Couric "did pull a punch" with Sheryl Crow, observing that she didn't press Crow on whether the singer thought her ex-boyfriend Lance Armstrong used steroids. "Sure, it’s a daytime talk show and Couric wasn’t grilling a woman who might become the next vice president of the U.S., but she’s still a journalist, which is why it seemed odd not to ask the question," it wrote.
Still, most agree that it's too early to issue a verdict on "Katie" and that later episodes — which will feature guests Heidi Klum, flesh-eating bacteria victim Aimee Copeland and "Fifty Shades of Grey" author E.L. James — promise to be more engaging.
"In the end... survival in the daytime talk-show game depends on other assets: Likability, energy, warmth," SF Gate wrote. "Bottom line, Couric will survive just fine."
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