When Katie Couric returns to TV Sept. 10, she'll do so with Jessica Simpson and Sheryl Crow by her side.
With a hefty pricetag and sky-high expectations for her daytime effort, Couric is billing her guest list as a cadre of women --many of them household names-- who are making similar transitions in their lives. Katie's early offerings will also include 24-year-old Aimee Copeland, a Georgia graduate student who lost parts of all her limbs to a rare flesh-eating bacteria, 50 Shades of Grey author E L James, Modern Family's Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lopez, and singer, actress and activitst Barbra Streisand.
In her bid to court daytime's all-important female demo, Katie's premiere episode will feature Simpson discussing such challenges as losing her baby weight, getting past nasty rumors and balancing a baby and a career for the first time, and Crow, who, like Couric, is a middle-aged single mother looking at the next phase of her life and her career. Also on offer in the coming weeks: Wendy Williams, Heidi Klum, Susan Sarandon and Chelsea Handler, among other promotable names.
But rather than make her show another stop on the celebrity promotional circuit, Couric is attempting to push her platform as a place to delve into the more substancial. Along those lines, Crow is expected to address her recent brain tumor diagnosis on the show, while The X Factor's Demi Lovato will come on to discuss her past struggles with anorexia and bulimia.
Still, Copeland will join Couric on the 11th, a reminder that Katie won't be all stars, all the time. Later, Sharon and Lexie Love, whose daughter and sister, Yeardley, was murdered two years ago by her ex-boyfriend at the University of Virginia, will break their silence on an episode that will focus on the epidemic of dating violence. Much the same way, Amanda Knox's boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito will drop by to discuss the murder case that made international headlines, life after his ordeal in an Italian prison and his reunion with Knox.