Yahoo’s Katie Couric Dodges ‘Uptight TV Formats’ During ‘First Cord-Cutter Election’

“Perhaps because I did broadcast television for so long, there is something very forgiving about being online,” Couric tells TheWrap

Katie Couric has been in the news business for 35 years but thinks the “first cord-cutter election” on Tuesday night will give Yahoo a chance to show viewers that online newscasts aren’t as stale and boring as typical coverage.

“It feels intimate, a little more casual, frankly,” Couric told TheWrap. “For whatever reason, perhaps because I did broadcast television for so long, there is something very forgiving about being online… We all feel much more liberated to be ourselves in a way that uptight TV formats don’t allow.”

Couric, the face of Yahoo News, said people are “increasingly discovering” that her broadcast is able to do things differently.

“We can really dive into subjects and not worry about moving things along,” Couric said. “It can be a very enjoyable way to find out what’s going on.”

That new way of reporting has translated into positive viewer response. Yahoo News video had its two highest weeks ever during the 2016 conventions with 44 million video views between the Republican and Democratic events. In addition, Yahoo News’ coverage of the 2016 presidential debates received over 20 million video views.

Election Day, Couric and National Political Columnist Matt Bai will lead Yahoo News’ coverage from New York starting at 6:45 p.m. ET until the final call comes in, with Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, Republican strategist Katie Packer and historian Evan Thomas providing additional insight.

Couric explained that for people with cable, Yahoo is simply “another option” but the “vibe of what we do is just much more relaxed” than broadcast and cable competitors. She thinks cord cutters searching for a place to watch Election Day coverage will realize the way Yahoo does things and keep coming back for more.

“We can talk to people for a longer amount of time,” Couric said. “It’s an option for people. We have a lot of fun… we don’t have to throw to commercial breaks.”

Couric said Yahoo’s coverage is also different because it won’t feature a ton of pundits talking over each other, which is something a lot of people dislike about cable news these days. But while Couric prides herself on an intimate feel, Yahoo isn’t cutting any corners when it comes to Election Night guests.

Guests and contributors include author J.D. Vance and West Virginia coal miner Bo Copley, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, Jose Antonio Vargas, Black Lives Matter Worcester founder Julius Jones and former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

Yahoo reporters Andy Serwer, Rick Newman, Daniel Klaidman, Michael Isikoff, Olivier Knox, Jon Ward, Andrew Romano and Lisa Belkin will also join Couric and Bai throughout the night with updates and analysis.

“Election night is the culmination of 18 months of our coverage of this crazy election and we’ve had so much success with live streaming that I’m really excited to bring this to the audience,” executive producer Yahoo News boss Tony Maciulis told TheWrap. “It’s a real full slate and we’ll obviously bring live results as they happen.”

“Yahoo News with Katie Couric” video views during the third quarter of 2016 are up 344 percent compared to Q3 last year. Maciulis said that Yahoo’s Election Night coverage will remind people of all of the now-famous moments the campaign season has already produced.

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