by Claire Atkinson
May 4, 2014
Katie Couric is in preliminary talks to head back to NBC’s “Today” — at least on a temporary basis, The Post has learned.
Couric is a contender to sit in and co-host the No. 2 morning show while Savannah Guthrie is on maternity leave, sources told The Post.
Guthrie, 42, is five months pregnant and expected to be away from the show for a few months beginning in late summer.
While the preliminary talks between Couric, 57, and NBC concern a temporary position, it could, sources added, turn into something longer term if she sparks an uptick in ratings.
The talks, if successful, could spark a sense of déjà vu for the veteran Couric. In 1991, she got her first taste of the co-anchor chair on “Today” when she sat in for Deborah Norville when Norville left for maternity leave. When Norville didn’t return, Couric got the gig full time.
Couric left “Today” in 2006 to become host of the “CBS Evening News.”
Guthrie and Couric chatted like old pals during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night. Guthrie, glowing in a pink pleated dress, gushed while showing off her baby bump.
Couric and Guthrie are said to have gotten close recently. The two have had lunch in the past eight weeks, sources told The Post.
To be sure, NBC News is also talking to others to fill Guthrie’s chair, including Meredith Vieira, who succeeded Couric at “Today.” Vieira, who was with “Today” until 2011, when she was replaced by Ann Curry, has a daytime chat show starting in the fall that could use some NBC cross-promotion.
Vieira remains close top NBC and was part of NBC’s Olympics coverage from Sochi.
There are no official negotiations currently between Couric and NBC — just friendly talks, sources close to the newswoman said.
Couric currently has a deal with Yahoo! where she is “global anchor,” but online doesn’t carry the same cache as a broadcast network. Plus, Couric’s online interviews with heavyweights like Mike Bloomberg and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have been looking for a network home, say several sources.
Yahoo! has a partnership with ABC News, but Couric’s interviews aren’t covered by the deal, raising the question whether a deal with Couric could also involve her Yahoo! work.
Couric’s talk show, “Katie,” syndicated through Disney’s Buena Vista, ends in June.
NBC did not comment on the possible Couric option.