Monthly Archives: June 2011

‘American Idol’ winner Scotty McCreery debut song sets chart records

American Idol winner Scotty McCreery has made country music history with his first single, “I Love You This Big,” his record label said Friday. The song had the highest-charting debut for a new artist in more than two decades. It debuted at No. 32 on Billboard’s Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems-based Country Songs chart and is the highest debut for a new artist’s first single since the chart began using Nielsen BDS data the week of Jan. 20, 1990, Billboard said.

The song, which hit No. 1 on iTunes, reached No. 3 on the Billboard Digital Songs chart with 171,404 units sold, while a compilation album featuring 14 of his performances from “American Idol,” called “American Idol Season 10: Scotty McCreery,” reached No. 12 on the Billboard Top 200 all-genre albums chart and No. 3 on the country albums chart with 23,196 units sold, Interscope Records said.

“I am humbled and shocked by this news,” McCreery, 17, said in a statement. “I can’t tell you what it means to me to be on the same charts as my musical heroes. I want to thank my fans and especially country radio for their support. I continue to be amazed by everything that has happened to me in such a short time.”

McCreery won Season 10 of American Idol May 25. More than 122.4 million votes were cast for McCreery and Lauren Alaina, the runner-up, and 38.6 million viewers tuned in to see the winner’s name announced.


Katie Couric makes move to ABC for talk show

Katie Couric has worked in morning television, the evening news and now,  thanks in part to Oprah Winfrey, will try out a daytime talk show. Winfrey’s exit from the market she dominated for much of the last two decades is providing Couric with an opening. The former “CBS Evening News” anchor and “Today” show host and ABC announced their long-anticipated deal on Monday, setting September 2012 for the premiere of Couric’s new show. “Oprah leaving made it seem like it was feasible,” Couric said, “because to go up against Oprah would be pretty terrifying. I don’t think anybody could really do that.”

Couric will have a part ownership stake in her new talk show, which reunites her with Jeff Zucker. The former NBC Universal chief, who was in the control room during many of Couric’s years at the “Today” show, will be executive producer of the talk show, which doesn’t have a name yet. It will be based in New York. “I don’t think there’s anybody better to take us through the news of the day, ” said Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group. “Certainly Katie and Jeff have shown us that they know how to take hold of that.” Couric will also have a role as a utility player at ABC News. She’ll conduct interviews, participate in special events coverage and even appear on shows such as “Good Morning America,” “World News” and “Nightline.”

The Couric announcement came on the same day her successor at the “CBS Evening News,” Scott Pelley, was to make his debut as anchor. Couric will enter a high-risk, high-reward world in daytime television. Only about one of every 10 new syndicated shows that come on the market succeed, said Bill Carroll, an expert in the area for Katz Media. Jane Pauley, one of Couric’s predecessors on the “Today” show, was among those who tried and failed. Try and succeed, and the riches are great. Syndicated talk shows can tap into licensing fees paid by stations that show them, as well as a cut of advertising revenue. “The rewards can be unbelievable — look at the empire Oprah Winfrey created,” Carroll said.

A talk show in today’s market is generally news oriented, celebrity focused such as “Ellen” or informational such as medical, relationship or cooking shows. Winfrey’s show was the only one to successfully blend all three in recent years, and in the ratings she towered over all competitors. Although her show is just in the development stages, Couric indicated that she was looking for a similar combination, albeit with more of a news edge.

Starting a new show involves risks, she said. But Couric believes the format allows for more spontaneity and less structure than what she’d been working on with the “CBS Evening News” the past five years. “Everything has its risks,” she said. “For me, the most important thing is to follow my passion and to consider what’s in my wheel house, what I like to do.”