Never mind all the chatter about whether Katie Couric can become the new Oprah; the real question is, can she beat Judge Judy?
Now that Couric has signed a multi-year deal with ABC to host a daytime talk show, she's up against one of the most popular daytime television programs of all time. That's right, Judge freaking Judy, which, in its SIXTEENTH SEASON(!) is being watched by over 10 million people every single day.
Judge Judy even kicked Oprah's ass during the final weeks of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Remember the media frenzy over how many people were tuning in to Oprah at the end of May? Judge Judy was quietly sitting back collecting 2 million additional viewers, and she didn't even have to hand out free cars or feature celebrity sycophants.
She may have millions of fans, but she has at least a few detractors. Joseph Wapner, who you may remember from The People's Court, has criticized her courtroom demeanor, saying:
She is not portraying a judge as I view a judge should act. Judge Judy is discourteous, and she's abrasive. She's not slightly insulting. She's insulting in capital letters.
Well, if I may approach the bench in order to say DUHHH, Your Honor, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what people love about the show.
In fact, if Katie Couric is going to beat Judge Judy, she needs to tap into Judith Sheindlin's winning formula, which I believe she can accomplish through a simple three-step transformation. Step one: drop the bubbly ex-cheerleader act in favor of peering angrily at her guests over the edge of her reading glasses. Step two: develop a number of catchphrases, such as "Baloney!" and "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Step three: makeover time. Dark robe, lace collar, perm.
BOOM. Ratings gold.
In all seriousness, I was kind of blown away to learn just how popular Judge Judy is—did you have any idea she had this many viewers? Best of luck to Katie Couric, it sounds like she's got a formidable tough-love opponent in the daytime ratings war.
Image via Flickr/fandayou_0088