July 30, 2014 1:01pm PT by Hilary Lewis
Katie Couric Bids Farewell to Daytime TV with Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon and More
Katie Couric said goodbye to daytime TV on Wednesday as her eponymous talk show aired its final episode.
Couric’s ABC show is ending after two years on the air, with the host moving on to Yahoo as global anchor for the website.
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On the final episode, which was taped earlier, Couric welcomed star surprise guests Susan Sarandon and Valerie Harper.
After an introduction by Morgan Freeman, Couric began her look back, reflecting on the end of her relatively young show.
“I’m already getting a little verklempt," she said at the top of the show. “It's the end of an era even though the era only lasted two years.”
She added that she hoped she achieved the goal she had when she set out to do the series, by making those who watched smarter and more inspired and opening their eyes to a new way of thinking.
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She also thanked her crew, saying she has “the best staff,” and her audience.
Couric then looked back at the highlights of her interviews with stars like Drew Barrymore, Jane Fonda, Charlie Sheen, Jamie Foxx, Sofia Vergara, Susan Sarandon, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Chelsea Handler, Betty White, Hugh Jackman, Howard Stern, LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Barbra Streisand, Tyra Banks and Tony Bennett. And she aired highlights of live performances from musicians like Taylor Swift, Nelly and more.
Couric was also joined live by Sarandon, Harper, Martina McBride and Josh Groban, who taped a goodbye message to Couric and then seemed to abandon it mid-segment to walk onstage with a bouquet of roses, making his first appearance on the show, explaining that he hadn’t visited before because he’d been on tour.
During her chat with Sarandon, the two women did shots and the actress thanked the host “for trying to make a difference in the talk-show world."
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The alcohol flowed again about 30 minutes later, with McBride, whom Couric noted performed on her final episode as co-host of NBC’s Today, as the two sipped glasses of wine.
The host also recalled moving segments with the family members of those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, the parents of the Sandy Hook shooting victims, coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and her interview with teenager Sam Berns, who died in January after a battle with progeria, a genetic condition that accelerates the aging process.
Other stars — including White, Streisand, Jimmy Kimmel and Drew Brees — taped goodbye messages, praising the host, with Kimmel asking the veteran journalist if she’d go to the prom with him.
She also recalled celebratory moments and surprised the audience with gifts from “Katie’s Ultimate Swag Bag,” with Clinton Kelly.
She closed by bringing her staff onstage for a final champagne toast, saying she'd never worked with a more talented group of people and that "thank you" doesn't seem enough for all of the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that went into her show.
Couric's show, which went through three executive producers, would eventually collapse under its own steep budget, including $10 million annually for the host, despite finishing its first season as the top freshman talk show.
The New York broadcast of Couric's show was briefly interrupted for breaking news about a police shooting in Newark, N.J.