Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Katie

Bumpy Start for Fall 2012's Most Anticipated New Talk Show

There's no doubt about it. Of the five new talk shows debuting this fall, Katie Couric's show Katie comes with the highest expectations.

Katie is a TV legend, far more than this season's other new talk show hosts (Ricki Lake, Jeff Probst, Steve Harvey, Trisha Goddard). And the show's production company, Disney-ABC, has been building up those expectations for more than a year.

Considering that, it's surprising that Katie didn't fall flatter than it did. It did fall flat. But Katie feels like it's a good talk show that hasn't found its footing yet. It's not a great show. It's not a bad show.

Curiously, the other three talk shows to debut so far (Ricki, Jeff, Steve) feel more polished than Katie and their hosts more at ease handling an hour of air time.

That said, Katie by her own admission was jittery with nerves. Her nervousness made for Katie's most endearing moments on yesterday's premiere episode. She was relatable, real.

The show itself isn't unlike Oprah, with celebrity guests talking about issues important to women.

Singer Jessica Simpson was the first guest and talked about being a new mom and being decidedly overweight. Singer Sheryl Crow spoke about her recent diagnosis with a benign tumor (and about singing backup for Michael Jackson).

Whether it was nerves or trying too hard to live up to expectations or just first-episode kinks, Katie has a few problems.

Katie talks way too much and entirely too fast. Perhaps she feels uncertain about talking for an hour when her background in news and on the Today show prepped her for short segments and intros.

Her guests need to be of a higher caliber. There's a reason, it turns out, that Jessica Simpson is an infrequent talk show guest. She's not interesting, overweight or not. Sheryl Crow was better, mostly because Katie (who says Sheryl is a friend) was visibly more at ease talking to her than she was to Jessica.

By the end of episode one, it felt like Katie has the potential to someday be a great talk show. When Katie is comfortable, her show shines. But, episode one wrapped, it's time for Disney-ABC to make fixes and, considering how fast viewers go on to the next thing, they need to do it soon.

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