CBS talks stalled, Katie Couric likely headed to ABC
WITH BILL ZWECKER May 5, 2011 6:38PM
Katie Couric would add another weird dimension to the rivalry between ABC News personalities Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters.
Updated: June 7, 2011 12:33AM
Now that Katie Couric’s negotiations with CBS — about maintaining a relationship with the network after leaving its “Evening News” next month — have collapsed, it’s likely she will move on to ABC.
That said, veteran alphabet network staffers are chuckling about how crowded it’s getting in the newsroom’s “Diva Department.”
“Diane [Sawyer] and Barbara [Walters] have a tough enough time keeping their cool, given their own intense competition. Can you imagine what it will be like if Katie jumps into the mix?” said a veteran ABC producer Thursday.
The source pointed to the recent joint anchoring by Sawyer and Walters at the royal wedding in London — where it was “very clear both would rather have been solo.”
Asked if similar comments would be made if these high-profile TV stars were men, the source (a woman herself) admitted, “No, but that’s just how it is in this business. …. It’s that old concept of women described as bitchy, and men as aggressive. Not fair, but that’s the way it goes down.”
† Various reports are swirling about Couric possibly inking a $20 million ABC deal to include a daily talk show — plus separate reporting opportunities.
EVEN UGLIER: If you thought Sandra Bullock harbored bad feelings about ex-husband Jesse James before — you can imagine how furious the Oscar winner is now, as details emerge from James’ American Outlaw memoir and his less-than-flattering comments in interviews about the ex-wife he cheated on.
The actress was said to be appalled by James’ attempts to tarnish her reputation by claiming she had pulled back from her earlier deep commitment to his children, especially young daughter Sunny.
I understand that Bullock’s reluctance to maintain contact with James and his kids stems from “how awkward Jesse has made things by insisting [new fiancee and tattoo queen ] Kat von D always be around, something Sandy obviously doesn’t want to be involved in,” said an Austin, Texas, friend of the actress.
† As for James’ ungallant crack that von D is “100 percent better” in bed than Bullock, “I won’t even stoop to respond to that,” said my source, “and neither would Sandy. She’s too classy to get down in that gutter.”
ROYAL REVERSE: Guess those early reports about Prince William and his bride, Catherine, visiting Hollywood leaked out earlier than the couple wanted — or before the trip was completely confirmed. So after an initial denial, the prince’s office now says the newlyweds will be heading to Los Angeles for a few days — tied to their summer visit to Canada.
DADDY? DOUBTFUL: While “Saturday Night Live” star Jason Sudeikis and January Jones have not confirmed anything about the paternity of the baby Jones is expecting, the actor’s friends doubt he’s the father. According to people knowledgeable about the ex-couple’s relationship, it was Sudeikis’ desire not to have kids (at least now) that led to the duo’s split late last year.
TV TALK: Congrats to Chicagoan Nicole Suarez — besting thousands to be one of 12 finalists competing on “Nuestra Belleza Latina,” the reality show and beauty competition on Univision. … The Emmy-winning “The Doctors” — including physicians Travis Stork, Lisa Masterson, Andrew Ordon and Jim Sears — will be shooting in Chicago next week, including stops at a Cubs game and Girl and the Goat restaurant.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Three Chicagoans — Peter Rios of Alliance Bakery, Naomi Levine of TipsyCake and Amy Beck of Amy Beck Cake Design — will be featured on TLC’s “Fabulous Cakes” on May 16. … While in town to tape today’s “Oprah” show, Tom Hanks dined with his son Chester at Gibsons on Rush, and both gobbled up a macadamia turtle pie. ... Fashionista Tory Burch, who has a shop here on Walton, lunched at LuxBar on Thursday.
AGENDA ACTION: Kate Betts, author of the best-selling Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style, will be the featured speaker at the “Power of Women” brunch June 2, sponsored by the Joint Action Committee, co-chaired by Linda Fisher and Lisa Rubinstein. It benefits the committee’s progressive social programs
Bill Zwecker reports regularly on “Good Day Chicago” and “Fox Chicago News at 9” on WFLD-Channel 32.