Couric Chats About ‘Katie,’ George Clooney and Sarah Palin

Talk Show Host Katie Couric (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Katie Couric appeared on stage before a room full of journalists Thursday at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, where she talked up her new talk show, revealed her “Bucket List,” and confirmed that, yes, she has invited former VP candidate Sarah Palin to be a guest on her show.

Has she heard a response from Palin? “Not yet,” Couric smiled that infamous grin.

While she admitted that “my 15 years on “The Today Show” were some of the happiest years in my professional life” and anchoring the CBS Evening News was a “difficult” period in her career, Couric is excited to be embarking on her next chapter, her daytime talk show “Katie,” which debuts Monday, Sept. 10.

“I think one of the exciting things about me doing this show is I’m going to be able to flex my muscles,” Couric says, pointing out that she has experience in TV news for 33 years now.

The show will feature a variety of subjects, some light-hearted, fun and celebrity driven, and some serious stories, such as the recent national tragedies, like the Colorado shooting rampage.

“I feel as if my portfolio is really varied and I pride myself on being able to use the right tone and the right approach, and to be able to calibrate that tone depending on who I’m dealing with on any given day,” Couric says.

“I have the ability to tackle a variety subjects and to do it well, from light topics to serious.”

Here are the highlights of Couric’s press conference with TV writers:

On Her “Bucket List”:

“I’d like to star in a Broadway musical, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. In my high school musical I was cast as a deaf-mute — that’s a true story. When I objected, the director then gave me a role of a dancing bear. I’d like to go out with George Clooney, if you can arrange that. I’ve never jumped out of an airplane — I’m afraid of heights — but I’d like to do that. But I have no desire to bungee jump.”

On Her Anchoring the CBS Evening News:

“I was criticized a lot while hosting CBS News and that was difficult. Some of the
criticism was so shallow. Some people didn’t like the way I held my hands, or the white jacket I wore after Labor Day… so it was hard for me to understand some of the vitriol sent my way. But it was a great character-building experience. I’m proud of the work that I did during my five years at CBS.”

On “Katie” Debuting a Year After Oprah Exited the Daytime Field:

“To be honest, I’m happy to have a year grace period after Oprah exited the stage. It was good for me to have the landscape settle before I jumped into the fray, so I think the timing worked out well.”

On Ann Curry’s Ouster from “The Today Show”:

“For whatever reason, the sense was it wasn’t clicking. My heart was breaking for her that morning…you don’t like to see someone disappointed; it’s hard to be that person and it’s hard to watch, especially on a public stage. But Ann did an incredible job, and I think she’ll go on to do great things.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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