CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Poaches Top 'Katie' Producer
Michael Bass, a former executive producer of "Today," is expected to join CNN.
Katie Couric’s freshman talk show is losing one of its executive producers. Michael Bass, a one-time executive producer of NBC's Today and a close confidant of Jeff Zucker, will join Zucker at CNN, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Bass, who was recruited to Katie by Zucker, was one of the show’s original executive producers along with Zucker and Kathy Samuels.
Zucker left the daytime program in November after accepting the presidency of CNN Worldwide. Katie is the top-rated freshman talker of the season, but lately Steve Harvey's show has been beating Katie among the key women 25-to-54 demographic that daytime advertisers covet most.
Couric’s show has pulled in some major gets, including controversy-plagued Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Joe Paterno’s widow, Sue Paterno. But there has been a fair amount of turnover behind the scenes. In February, Ethan Nelson joined the show from ABC News, where he was a producer at Good Morning America and its summer spinoff Good Afternoon America. Weeks later, Disney-ABC promoted Patrick Ignozzi, a veteran producer at The View, to vp programming at ABC’s daytime group, where one of his tasks includes steering Katie. Matt Lombardi, one of Couric’s most-trusted producers at CBS News and whom Couric brought with her to ABC, left the show for the ABC newsmagazine 20/20.
And there likely will be more changes afoot at the show before Katie heads into its second season.
Meanwhile at CNN, Zucker continues to make myriad personnel moves. A new morning show co-hosted by Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan is set to premiere later in the spring. Michaela Pereira of KTLA Morning News will be the show’s news anchor, while longtime CBS News and ABC News producer Jim Murphy has been named senior executive producer. Zucker also has handed out many pink slips to longtime CNN contributors, including James Carville, Mary Matalin and Roland Martin.
Representatives for Katie declined comment. A CNN spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment. The news was first reported by The New York Times.