clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Katie Couric is ending her Yahoo interview show and departing Oath

But the longtime TV news star will still work with the company on a project basis.

2015 Yahoo Digital Content NewFronts
Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Katie Couric in better days
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Yahoo

Katie Couric is ending her flagship Web interview show for Yahoo, as well as a range of other online news programming, Oath confirmed after Recode contacted the company about the development.

Instead, the Verizon-owned company has struck a deal to do work with the longtime television news star on a “project” basis.

“Over the last four years, Katie has created a vast portfolio of work that has been equal parts inspiring, thought-provoking and fun to watch,” said an Oath spokesperson. “We're proud of everything she has accomplished and look forward to exploring ways to work together in the future."

The move brings to an end a very high-profile deal that was struck by former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. She got Couric to sign with the Silicon Valley internet giant in late 2013 to become its global news anchor and launch an interview show to give the company a big-media sheen.

The broadcast journalist had a longtime interest in digital distribution and jumped into her job at Yahoo with gusto, the biggest effort by Mayer to convince advertisers that the site was a media destination.

But, like a lot of Mayer’s schemes, it did not work as planned.

While Couric did a series of top-level interviews with major figures — from Bill and Melinda Gates to DJ Khaled — and attracted some significant sponsors and traffic, her work was never properly surfaced on Yahoo. In fact, it was actually hard to find on the site, and other outlet’s coverage of her work often garnered better placement on Yahoo’s homepage than her actual reports.

This obviously caused frustration for Couric, who had her own team at Yahoo, and it definitely did not maximize her star power.

Still, Couric was not without her successes at Yahoo, especially for creating a laudable editorial effort that was often better than comparable television fare. According to Oath, since joining Yahoo in 2014, Couric and her team generated nearly one billion video views and has grown them annually by 300 percent, producing close to 60 videos each week.

She also covered major political events for Yahoo News and nabbed big newsmakers. Her most successful interview was with former government security programmer Edward Snowden in Moscow, which she did for both Yahoo and its partner ABC News.

Couric’s actual Yahoo contract — worth a reported $10 million in cash and stock — ran out in March and was extended to June. While Oath CEO Tim Armstrong was interested in continuing the relationship, Couric decided she wanted to move on, preferring to work on a case-by-case basis on other projects she has been working on.

That includes a six-part documentary series she is doing with National Geographic on major social issues, her second project there. She is also the executive producer of “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” which was released on National Geographic this year.

She also has a “Katie Couric” podcast and has been expanding her own production company. It has produced a new cooking and travel show with Sur La Table national chef Joel Gamoran called “Scraps” on FYI, as well as a web show with him, Couric and her husband John Molner called “Full Plate with Katie & John.”

With a large social media presence and a deep interest in the medium, it is unlikely to be the last time we’ll see Couric online. While many questioned her move to the internet at the time, to my mind, it was a brave and bold move that few fancy TV folks were willing to take. Today, web efforts are common for broadcast and cable figures, but Couric most certainly was first among its biggest stars to make the inevitable digital plunge.

Couric likes to give it back to me as good as she gets — she once catcalled at me from an audience at a Vanity Fair conference, yelling “That’s riiiiight,” when I was onstage complimenting her about her big salary haul at Yahoo. But I truly appreciate that gumption and give her many kudos for understanding the digital future better than most in media. (Except me, Katie! FYI, I still run the internet! Me and Arianna!)

In any case, here is Couric’s Snowden interview for your watching pleasure:

This article originally appeared on