BEVERLY HILLS — Katie Couric is glad she has had some space between her and Oprah Winfrey.
It's been a year since "The Oprah Winfrey Show" went off the air, and Couric — geared as her heir apparent — premieres her "Katie" talk show on Monday in various time periods around the country. In some markets, "Katie" will air where "Oprah" used to be.
Comparisons are natural, whether Couric wants them or not.
"To be honest with you, I'm happy to have a year, kind of, grace period," Couric told reporters recently. "And, with Oprah exiting the stage, it, I think, was OK for me to give some time for the landscape to kind of settle before I jumped into the fray. And so I felt like the timing actually worked really well for me."
Though Winfrey's show wasn't strictly a celebrity-driven hour, "Katie" will lean heavily on star power at first. Sheryl Crow, Jessica Simpson, Barbra Streisand and Jennifer Lopez will be among her first guests in the first few weeks.
It won't all be star talk, she says.
"In terms of what the show is going to look like, it's still a work in progress, but I think it will be, at times, single topic, a single topic show," Couric says. "And other times, it may be two topics in one show, sometimes even three. I think we'll be talking about things as varied as the impact of technology on our relationships, on our children, sort of the best way to care for an aging parent.
"A quarter of the adult population in this country is now caring for an aging parent, and I think there are a lot of people who need guidance and help in that. It may be dating in your 40s and 50s; something that I can relate to. And so I think we're going to be doing a wide variety of topics."
Among standing segments: "Women Who Should Be Famous," spotlighting women who are doing extraordinary things and not getting much attention for it; and "YOLO" (You Only Live Once), a twist on the idea of a bucket list.
Couric, 55, and a widow with two children, is banking on her fans from her "Today" show days following her to the new talk show.
"On the 'Today' show, I really enjoyed tackling a variety of topics and being on live television, and I think people responded and related to me, so I hope they'll feel the same about me in daytime," she says.
Other highlights for the week of Sept. 9-15. Listings subject to change:
n "Broadway Or Bust" (8 p.m. PBS). This three-part documentary follows hopefuls preparing for National High School Musical Theater Awards, with intense rehearsals and dreams on the line.
n "General Hospital" (2 p.m. ABC). The nearly 50-year-old soap opera makes a move to a new time period.
n "The Voice" (8 p.m. NBC). There will be tweaks in the format as the third season begins, but the judges are keeping those swivel chairs. Thank goodness.
n "The Crimson Petal and The White" (8 p.m. Encore). In this two-part British miniseries, a prostitute from the Victorian era gets caught up in the life of one of her clients — a wealthy businessman with a sick wife.
n "Parenthood" (10 p.m. NBC). Jason Ritter and Ray Romano are guest stars in the fourth season opener.
n "Sons of Anarchy" (10 p.m. FX). A fifth season of motorcycle-riding, drug dealing, law enforcement-breaking action takes off.
n "The X-Factor" (8 p.m. Fox). Britney Spears joins the judges table. It may be the first time she's been on the judge's side of a situation.
n "Guys With Kids" (10 p.m. NBC). Jimmy Fallon is behind this sitcom about three guy friends who tend to their babies and navigate the "new normal" of the situation.
n "Glee" (9 p.m. Fox). The musical comedy splits into two worlds this season: One at the high school and the other follows the lives of those who graduated last season.
n "Shark Tank" (8 p.m. ABC). Another season opens with entrepreneurs bargaining with inventors about their products.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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