Who can replace Oprah -- and nab her audience?

Oprah Winfrey on her television show.

Jeremy Hobson: To TV land now. Katie Couric is appearing this morning in her former home. She's promoting a new book in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show. There are rumors the two will launch a new syndicated talk show together.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins tells us it's all part of a bigger story about the coming vacancy network TV has to fill.

Jennifer Collins: It's Oprah. With Winfrey off to her cable channel, around 7 million viewers suddenly need a place to go -- a place where advertisers will pay millions to reach them.

Marty Kaplan: There is a chance for anything really to fill the vacuum.

Marty Kaplan is a media professor at the University of Southern California.

Kaplan: Katie Couric and Matt Lauer in principle could be that sexy thing that's exactly the right thing to lead into the local news.

The gamble would be that the duo could deliver enough viewers to offset their sizable salaries. Toby Miller is a professor of popular culture at the University of California, Riverside.

Toby Miller: There's no doubt in my mind that teamed up again they could bring back people in their mid-30s to daytime-afternoon television and then perhaps curb them up for something later in the evening.

But right now, the Couric and Lauer program is still much more of a soap opera than a talk show.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.


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