ABC is expected to finally announce a deal on Monday that will bring Katie Couric to afternoon talk in the fall of 2012.

Couric and ABC, as reported here and just about everywhere in recent weeks,  are said to be going after the same post-Oprah pie that Anderson Cooper is chasing with his new afternoon talk show. Cooper will be on the air this fall -- and so, have a year's headstart.


Couric's high-powered PR team has been working overtime in recent week's trying to sell a narrative that everyone wanted her -- including CBS, which could hardly have been more obvious in how much it wanted to get rid of her after five years of big bucks from the network and little effort from Couric as managing editor to lead the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" out of the ratings cellar.

If you don't think there might be some bad blood between Couric and CBS News (at least on Couric's part because CBS wouldn't play the game and act like they still wanted her), ask yourself why all the Couric buzz about a deal expected to be announced on the same day that Scott Pelley makes his debut as Couric's replacement on the "CBS Evening News."

The likelihood that the deal would finally be announced on Monday was reported Friday by The Hollywood Reporter. Read that here.

As to the ABC-Couric deal, if it goes down as expected, it will probably help affiliates like Baltimore's WMAR-TV (Channel 2) more than anyone else.

WMAR looks to have some of the weakest programming in town from 3 to 5 p.m. as lead-in to its early news, and that means its dinnertime newscasts start out with a disadvantage.

If Couric can regain some of her energy or ratings power, a 4 p.m. talk show featuring her on WMAR weekdays could make a difference in the dinnertime news ratings. It would give lowly-rated WMAR something to work with. And if affiluates like WMAR do better at dinnertime, that offrers a larger lead-in to the "ABC Worl News with Diane Sawyer." This could be a very good move for ABC long term -- if lots of "ifs" fall into place.

But that's 2012, and that's a long time to wait. And there's no guarantee Couric will be able to make a dent in the viewing habits of audiences already committed to "Ellen" on WBAL, the judges shows on WBFF, and local news on WJZ. In other cities, Couric will be arriving a year late to battle Anderson Cooper who is getting a chance to prove himself in several 4 p.m. slots around the country this fall.

Couric will have a role with ABC News this year, but look for it to be a relatively minor one -- mostly limited to "Nightline." Why should Diane Sawyer have to make room for her when Sawyer has been everything for "ABC World News" that Couric wasn't for "CBS Evening News"? Sawyer energized and improved her newscast tremendously since she arrived, and she left Couric and CBS in the dust.

The "NIghtline" role is mostly face-saving for Couric on the part of ABC, which really wants her for the afternoon talk show market where big money is to be made for all parties involved.

But who cares about Couric's PR games?

Couric and her handlers want to act like the last five years at CBS never happened. But they did. CBS News got burned. And and for all the spin ABC and Team Couric will be putting on the announcement when it finally comes, she is mostly out of the news business with this move.

Maybe she wants to be. And if that is true, good for her. She didn't seem to have the desire it takes to lead a network news broadcast in these challenging times.