Couric launching a talk show, dreams of Broadway

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - July 26, 2012

The ABC newswoman and TV personality listed several items Thursday from her personal bucket list that also includes going on a date with George Clooney and jumping out of an airplane, despite her fear of heights.

Speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association conference, Couric said she's excited to be starting from scratch with her new program "that tackles some of the things that you think are important, that you think people want to know more about."

Asked if she's nervous as the Sept. 10 launch date approaches, she confessed, "I think I'm a little scared. If I weren't, I'd worry."

Lighting up the Great White Way may be out of Couric's reach - at least, based on past experience.

"When I auditioned for my high school musical, 'Carnival,'" Couric recalled, "they cast me as the deaf mute. Very humiliating. I objected, and then they gave me the part of the dancing bear."

Tapping into viewers' bucket lists (or, in hipper parlance, YOLO, for "You Only Live Once") will be a feature of "Katie," the syndicated hour that's among several contenders to fill the void still felt by the absence of Oprah Winfrey's hugely popular show.

"Katie" will deal with more substantive issues as well. Couric said she had already reached out to presidential candidates President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as their wives "and anyone else in their family they'd like to bring."

She has also invited Sarah Palin, whom she famously interviewed while at CBS News during the 2008 campaign, exposing Palin in the minds of many viewers as ill-prepared to be the GOP vice presidential candidate.

None of these invitees have responded yet, Couric said.

Couric announced that the show's theme song, "This Day," was written and performed by superstar Sheryl Crow.

Couric joined ABC News and announced her Disney-syndicated talk show last year after a stint at CBS News.

She said her first few months anchoring "The CBS Evening News" in 2006 were the toughest of her career.

"I was criticized a lot," she explained. "And the criticism seemed so shallow: They didn't like the way I was holding my hands doing the news, or the white jacket I wore after Labor Day." That memory made her laugh.

"It was hard for me to understand some of the vitriol that was unleashed and sent my way," Couric said. "But it was a great character-building experience."

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