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We get up close and personal with the host about her September premiere

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert Aug 23, 2012 7:29AM

With Katie Couric's new talk show set to premiere Monday, Sept. 10, MSN TV got up close and personal with the host to see how things are coming together at "Katie." 


Bing: Katie Couric    


As previously reported, the former "Today" and "CBS Evening News" anchor said "Katie" was "still a work in progress" when she hit the TCA Press Tour July 26. During her panel, Couric revealed her plans to take on a variety of topics, from serious events like the recent Aurora shooting to lighter issues like dating in your 40s and 50s. She also talked about creating recurring franchise segments, including Women Who Should Be Famous and YOLO (You Only Live Once) adventures. 


The "Katie" guest list remains hush-hush, but Couric told the press she's invited the presidential candidates and Sarah Palin to her show, which will feature newsmakers, celebrities and everyday people. 

 
 
Here's what Couric had to say when MSN TV caught up with her after the panel. 
 

MSN TV: You've worked in every part of TV at this point.

 

Katie Couric: Not late night!

 

That's next, right? But you've done morning and evening news, and now you're moving to afternoon talk, which is considered a more personal medium. Are we going to get to know you even better?

 

"The Today Show" is a pretty good example of that, where I would give my perspective about things without [going overboard]. I just don't want it to be me, me, me. But I do want to be open. It's a fine line. For example, I don't mean to dwell on dating in your 40s and 50s -- this is the third time I've mentioned it today! -- but I might talk about my philosophy, my approach and how I've handled it, without talking about the date I had the night before.

 

What do your daughters have say about all this?

 

When I started at "The Today Show," I was pregnant with my oldest daughter Allie, who just turned 21. I would talk about them on the show. And one time, something got printed in some women's magazine. When my daughter was old enough to read it, she said, "Hey, cut it out. Stop talking about me." So I've always tried to be respectful of them and not divulge too much. They understand they may come up if we're talking about "inside the teenage brain." I might recount my experiences with my own 16-year-old daughter, who doesn't want to be in the same zip code as me. But in general, I try to be respectful, and we have a great relationship. They understand there are times when I naturally -- and only when it's natural -- reveal things that have happened to me, personally. But I try not to do it too much.


You've been popping up on ABC over the last year, and it's felt like the old Katie. Is there something there that makes you comfortable?

 

I did that Diamond Jubilee special with the Queen and was able to talk to William and Harry. They gave me room and permission to be who I was and do a show that was fun and relaxed and had some personality.

 

Is it better when there isn't all that pressure? With the attention you received at CBS, it seemed like anything you did was magnified.

 

I don't really pay attention to all that. I focus on the work and doing a good job.

 

Are you totally over the drama during your time with "CBS Evening News"?

 

I was sort of over that after the first year. I am glad I did it. It was a great experience for me. We did great work. We won tons of awards. We were considered the hardest news broadcast by people who evaluate such things. So I feel good about the work I did, and I did a pretty important interview while I was there, as well.


With "Katie," you have the opportunity to be involved in producing the show, along with Jeff Zucker. In what ways are you taking advantage of that?

 

In terms of editorial decisions? To be honest with you, I've always been very vocal and very involved in the content of any show I've worked on. I'm not the kind of "talent" that comes in and is handed a script. I was very involved in the editorial content of "The Today Show" and "CBS Evening News." This just gives me an opportunity to work with Jeff again and have input with him.

 

What about decisions that go beyond the editorial, like creating your new set?


It's exciting. Obviously I'm involved in every decision about the set, what I'm looking for, what I want. I also defer to people who have a lot of experience in this area. This is my first foray into a syndicated show, so I don't have all the answers. It's like starting a small business. It's like a TV start-up, in a way, so I'm very involved in every decision. And when I'm not, I let them know that I want to be.


What differences are you finding in syndication?

 

It's very liberating because you don't have a lot of network bureaucrats telling you can't do something.

  

How have you been preparing for the big premiere?


We're doing some test shows in August (see photo from Aug. 2 test on left), and I'll get a sense from that. I'm excited about that. Slightly trepidatious, but excited. As somebody who is interested in content, every day I think, "We should do a story on this" or "How could we do the Aurora store differently?" I'm constantly reading, and I've been visiting a lot of stations, because in this genre, you have to have a strong relationship with the local stations.


You're also currently hosting a weekly ABC News web series, "Katie's Take." How will "Katie" incorporate the Internet?

 

Social media is going to be a big part of the show because it makes the conversation broader and more inclusive. Talk about being connected to your audience! Social media allows you to hear what they have to say -- the good the bad and the ugly. Block! Also just to get their input and understand what they want to learn about if we have a specific guest. I'm obviously going to ask my Twitter followers if they have a question for those people or there's an issue. You can also now use social media to find great guests. I'm attracted to stories about ordinary people who have exhibited extraordinary personal courage. You're going to be seeing a lot of that on my show.


Several shows launched last year with an eye to filling the void left by Oprah Winfrey and faltered. What can you learn from their struggle?

 

I'm not a big fan of comparison shopping. I just want to do the best job and really be who I am and not be affected by other programs or the way they're doing it. I just want to try my best to do the best I can and let the chips fall where they may.

 

With the premiere date fast approaching, are you nervous?

 

I think I'm a little scared, which is good. If I weren't, I would worry!


"Katie" premieres Monday, Sept. 10, in syndication. 

 

Are Sarah and Hank getting back together?

By MSN TV Partner Apr 11, 2014 10:51AM
In this sneak peek of the "Parenthood" season finale, Hank (Ray Romano) impresses Amber (Mae Whitman) and Sarah (Lauren Graham) with his Hank-like concern as they deal with Ryan's hospitalization.

Watch it first on MSN TV:

This clip, along with the promo clip NBC showed for next week's episode, hints at a reunion for Sarah and Hank. Are you rooting for the couple? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The season finale of "Parenthood" airs Thursday April 17 at 10PM ET/PT on NBC.
 

Get a glimpse of Marsden’s character in the animated show starring Jack McBrayer

By MSN TV Partner Mar 25, 2014 10:04AM

In a new episode premiering March 31, James Marsden will guest start on Disney XD’s “Wander Over Yonder”.


Marsden reunites with "30 Rock" co-star Jack McBrayer in this episode where the hero Sir Brad Starlight (Marsden) enlists Wander (McBrayer) as his goofy sidekick and Sylvia as his noble steed on his quest to save Princess Demurra from the evil Dragon King, King Draykor.


See this pic first on MSN TV: Wander is ecstatic to fulfill his fairytale dream of rescuing a princess, but Sir Brad Starlight is not interested in sharing the spotlight and reminds Wander at every turn that there's only room for one hero.


“Wander Over Yonder” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD

 

Kim Kardashian, Wendy Williams hear what regular folk really think about them

By MSN TV Partner Mar 18, 2014 9:18AM
In the the new series from Oxygen, "Celebrities Undercover" will feature two celebrities concealing their true identity with the use of prosthetic make-up to find out what unsuspecting fans and friends really think of them without the distraction of their famous personas.

The season premiere will feature Kim Kardashian, and executive producer Wendy Williams will get a taste of her own medicine as well. In this clip watch Kim K. undergo an impressive make-up overhaul in prep for undercover work: going to a group job interview as a Kardashian fan hoping to become her own new assistant. 

Watch the video:

Other stars features this season include T-Pain, Fantasia, Joey Fatone, Lil’ Kim, Chili, Anthony Anderson, Jaleel White, Adrienne Bailon, Ice-T and Coco.

"Celebrities Undercover" premieres March 18 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.

 

Host Justin Willman and Disney stars dish on the new show and offer up advice

By MSN TV Partner Mar 14, 2014 11:15AM

(Disney's Win, Lose or Draw /Adam Taylor, Disney Channel)By Minh Nguyen


It didn’t take long for memories of the original “Win, Lose or Draw” game show to come flooding back as soon as we stepped foot on the set of Disney’s resurrected show of the same name.  Gone was the ‘80s living room set, replaced with bright vibrant colors, fun props and technology everywhere. Host Justin Willman (“Cupcake Wars”) commanded the stage as Disney stars Dove Cameron and Joey Bragg from “Liv and Maddie” battled it out against each other with their teammates.


The premise is pretty simple: two teams of three players (with the Disney stars on each side) compete in drawing contests to win prizes. Thrown into the mix are special challenges (like Shake, Rattle and Draw; Sit and Spin; The Wand) that take advantage of oversized props and fun gadgets. This season will also feature stars from Disney shows "Kickin' It," "Lab Rats," "I Didn't Do It,"  "Austin & Ally," "Jessie," "Dog With a Blog" and "Mighty Med" as well as stars from "Teen Beach Movie."


Over lunch, we were able to speak to Willman, Cameron and Bragg.


For people that aren’t familiar with the original game, how are you describing this to them?

Willman: The simple idea is just that it’s drawing Charades. You get your teammates to guess what you’re drawing. We have a team of writers who write these clues, and the words that they have to draw are so clever.


It's super high-tech, so the old original version was more markers on pads of paper, which was great at the time but here they have these massive touch screens and tons of software they designed just for the games that’s completely interactive.


Contestants have to do a bunch of crazy challenges in round two. Like drawing with a helmet on, where they can’t see anything or drawing with a unicorn stylus and that makes it way tougher but also much more entertaining to watch.


How are you enjoying being a part of the show?

Willman: As a live performer, I’m used to having that instant gratification of a live audience and this feels a lot like that. We’ve got 150 screaming kids, who are having the time of their lives just being there. It’s great because the jokes get instant payback. The excitement, I feed off of it. Even if it’s first thing in the morning, I don’t even need to have my coffee. As soon as that crowd starts to roar, I’m ready to go. It’s a blast.


Bragg: I like the rapid round. I can’t remember what it’s called. Where there’s one person drawing, and two people guessing, then we just switch.


Cameron:  I think the best part for me has actually been, (I know this sounds like such a canned answer), but has been getting to meet these kids. There was this great moment where, it was at the end of the first round when they all kind of flooded in and they hugged us. And some of them were crying, and I wanted to cry. We didn’t realize the gravity of how huge this really is, and “Win, Lose, or Draw” has been great that way. We’ve gotten to interact with a lot of kids.


Justin, what’s the best advice you ever received?

Willman: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”


Dove and Joey, you guys seem really polished. What kind of advice do you have for kids that get stage fright?

Bragg: Well, I was doing stand-up comedy, and I don’t mean to be that guy, but it’s one of the hardest things to go up there and say stuff that you’ve written. You don’t have music backing you. I wanted to do something that I’m going to remember. And I think a lot of that is “I’m going to embarrass myself,” but you’re never going to see those people that are watching you ever again. Just do it!


Cameron: I always had a fear of cameras because I grew up on stage. Most things in life are one of those things where once you try it, you realize how OK it is. I just don’t take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways. So, yeah. Just have fun. Do what you please.


“Disney’s Win, Lose or Draw” airs Mondays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.

 

She still lives with her parents!

By MSN TV Partner Mar 13, 2014 10:55AM
Later this month, "Extra" host Maria Menounos will premiere her new reality show. "Chasing Maria Menounos" will give fans a peek into her life, including living with her longtime boyfriend and her immigrant parents.

In this interview with Oxygen's On-Air Personality Susie Castillo, Menounos reveals more about her upbringing and what to expect on her new series. Watch this first on MSN TV:


"Chasing Maria Menounos" premieres March 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.
 

Princess Aslaug brings surprise and intrigue to this scripted drama

By MSN TV Partner Mar 13, 2014 10:17AM
Season 2 of History's "Vikings" is underway. Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) revealed she was carrying Ragnar's (Travis Fimmel) child, sending rippling effects into his kingdom. In this video extra, Sutherland talks more about her character and how filming went the second time around.


"Vikings" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.
 

"It's not a good day, Mad Max"

By MSN TV Partner Mar 12, 2014 9:56AM

In this "Parenthood" clip, Max (Max Burkholder) wrecks havoc for Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Hank (Ray Romano) when he barges into the studio, interrupting their workflow.


Watch this clip, first on MSN TV:


Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
 

The classic game show has been upgraded with newer technology

By MSN TV Partner Mar 3, 2014 11:36AM

Who remembers the celebrity game show, "Win, Lose or Draw"? Disney Channel has recreated a kids version of it, premiering Monday, March 3. (The show will air Mondays through Thursdays).

 

On "Disney's Win, Lose or Draw" Disney Channel and Disney XD stars team up with kid contestants to compete and win prizes in a battle of drawing skills, creativity and wits. Justin Willman hosts the contemporary version of the popular game show, which also features new technology such as motion-control illustration, interactive multi-touch screen displays and other fun challenges.

 

Watch a clip:


 "Disney’' Win, Lose or Draw" premieres Monday, March 3, at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.