Hollywood, get ready for Katie Couric!
The perky “Today” star has been hatching a plan to leave New York City and head west to settle down with her boyfriend and host a daytime talk show just like Oprah.
Career-minded Katie has a hot-shot executive firmly in her corner. Her close friend, former “Today” producer Jeff Zucker, is setting up base in L.A. to call the shots as NBC’s new president of entertainment.
“Jeff told Katie he’d like to develop a star vehicle just for her that would be similar to Oprah’s show,” divulged a friend. What’s more, the new love of Katie’s life, TV producer Tom Werner, has filed for divorce and is urging Katie to join him on the West Coast.
“Tom is lending support and encouragement. He’d love nothing more than to have Katie and her daughters move to Los Angeles,” revealed her friend.
“Katie’s just gone through a grueling season. She wasn’t especially happy with the show expanding from two to three hours. It has been very draining. Katie also likes the idea of exposing her girls — 9-year-old Ellie and 5-year-old Carrie — to a different environment. They’ve lived in Manhattan their whole lives and the city can get stifling. The beaches, fresh air and a bigger house would be a welcome change.”
Katie changed her hairstyle last spring — at a cost of $555.
The 44-year-old news star — whose beloved husband Jay Monahan died of colon cancer in January 1998 — re-signed with “Today” in 1998 for four years at a whopping $28 million. The talented and versatile broadcaster still has 18 months left on her contract.
“But Katie realizes that if she stays in the NBC family,” said the friend, “they could work out something — possibly switching her from one show to another.”
Another pal told The ENQUIRER that while Katie looks forward to building her future with boyfriend Tom in Los Angeles, the move won’t be immediate because of the health of her 53-year-old sister Emily, a Virginia state senator who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last July.
“Katie has been making frequent trips to Virginia from New York City to visit with Emily on weekends,” disclosed the pal. “It’s unlikely she’ll leave the East Coast while her sister is being treated for her illness.”
— SUZANNE ELY
In The Hollywood Behind the Screens Forum.