Jump to content

NBC 'Today Show'


Recommended Posts


Couric Leaves NBC 'Today' for CBS Tomorrow


Katie Couric

On her 15th anniversary on "Today," Katie Couric told viewers Wednesday, April 5 that she's leaving to join CBS and become the first woman to solely anchor a network evening newscast. "I wanted to tell all of you out there . . . that after listening to my heart and my gut . . . I've decided I'll be leaving 'Today' at the end of May," she said. "I really feel as if we've become friends through the years."

The 49-year-old Couric, the longest-serving anchor in "Today" show history, is expected to replace Bob Schieffer on the third-rated CBS broadcast in September. Following a months-long guessing game that has consumed the TV industry, Couric chose the 15th anniversary of her first day as "Today" co-host in 1991 to say that it's time for a change.

"It's been such an honor and a privilege to occupy this seat for as long as I have," she said. "Sometimes I think change is a good thing," Couric said. "Although it may be terrifying to get out of your comfort zone, it's also very exciting to start a new chapter in your life."


Al Roker, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Ann Curry

The bold move simultaneously forces NBC to find a new team for "Today," television's most profitable news program, and gives CBS News President Sean McManus a major success in his effort to lure more stars to his beleaguered news organization.

Meredith Vieira of the daytime chat show "The View" has emerged as the leading candidate to team with Matt Lauer at "Today." Vieira, a former CBS News reporter who won a Daytime Emmy as host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," had previously turned down offers to return to news since joining "The View."

Couric, Lauer, newsreader Ann Curry and weathercaster Al Roker have formed TV news' most successful morning team in history since 1997, with "Today" riding an unprecedented 10-year ratings winning streak. During that time, morning news programs have simultaneously grown in influence and have become important entertainment vehicles.


Katie Couric interviews actor Colin Firth in 2001

The job required Couric to both interview presidents and don goofy costumes on Halloween. Couric's NBC contract extends to the end of May and she's expected to remain at "Today" through that ratings sweeps month. The lure of trying something new and making history in the evening proved enticing to Couric.

Couric is also expected to contribute to "60 Minutes." She spurned a more lucrative offer about $20 million a year to remain at NBC and accept CBS' bid at a salary near her current range of $13 million to $15 million, according to a non-network person close to negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Katie Couric will take over the 'CBS Evening News'

anchor chair from interim anchor Bob Schieffer

With Schieffer filling in during the year since Dan Rather's exit, the "CBS Evening News" is the only network evening newscast rising in the ratings. But it's still in third place behind NBC and ABC. "I will be delighted if she came," Schieffer said Tuesday. "I think she'll be a great addition to a very good news team. . . . I've known Katie for years and I think the world of her."

If a deal with Vieira can't be reached, the top in-house candidates to replace Couric are "Today" weekend anchor Campbell Brown, NBC reporter Natalie Morales and Ann Curry. "If it comes to an end, I'll be the first to cry," Curry told "Access Hollywood" about Couric before her colleague's announcement. "If she leaves, she'll be very hard to replace."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Meredith Vieira Gets A Different 'View Today'


Meredith Vieira

A day after Katie Couric announced she was leaving for CBS, NBC has chosen Meredith Vieira as Matt Lauer's new partner on the "Today" show. "Meredith's vast experience as an award-winning journalist, as well as talk show host, make her the ideal candidate for this job," said Jeff Zucker, CEO of the NBC Universal Television Group.

Vieira told her audience on "The View" on Thursday, April 6 about her decision. "I'm thrilled, I'm really thrilled," she said. "You would love these people." NBC chose Vieira over several internal candidates, including weekend "Today" anchor Campbell Brown, newswoman Natalie Morales and "Today" newsreader Ann Curry. Brown and Morales had subbed for Couric on "Today" while she was on vacation at the end of last month.

With her background as a former "60 Minutes" correspondent and co-host on "The View," Vieira's experience matches a morning show host's need to do serious news and interview Hollywood celebrities and do cooking segments. Vieira has also won a Daytime Emmy award for her job as host of the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."


Meredith Vieira will replace Katie Couric as Matt Lauer's new morning co-host

She's expected to join Lauer on "Today" in September. It will be the first anchor change on morning television's top-rated program since 1997. "Meredith is a real pro, and I think it speaks volumes that NBC has brought her here to 'Today,'" Lauer said.

"I have been her fan for years and I can't wait to be her partner," Lauer added. "She has the perfect background and personality to make a real mark on this show and in morning news in general. I'm thrilled to welcome her aboard."

Couric announced Wednesday, April 5, on her 15th anniversary on "Today," that she was leaving next month to join CBS. She'll become anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News" in September.


The ladies of 'The View' include (L-R) Meredith Vieira, Star Jones-

Reynolds, Elisabeth Hasselback, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters.

Vieira had been reluctant in the past to move back to news, despite other offers, for family reasons. But "Today" gives her the chance to join a broadcast that has led in the ratings more than 10 years in a row. "I believe in growth, but right now I'm feeling terrific growing pains," Vieira said, fighting back tears.

She made the announcement while sitting next to Barbara Walters, a former "Today" personality herself and creator of "The View." Walters said "The View" would continue with the same format. "This is a very sad day for us but a very happy day," Walters said. "I know this is a wonderful new chapter for you."

If Couric is to make her dawn-to-dusk move a success, she'll need more people like Amy Lindgren. "I really love her," said Lindgren, a 27-year-old mother of two from Denmark, Maine. "I watch ABC now, but I'd rather watch Katie than the person doing the evening news (at ABC) now. She's outgoing, she's energetic and she seems to relate to the people nicely."


Katie Couric

Lindgren is among the 29 percent of people responding to an Associated Press-TV Guide poll this week who said they preferred Couric in the evening. Forty-nine percent of the people said they favored Couric in the morning.

Despite the public's initial wariness, the poll suggests Couric has a chance to catch on at night, or at least lift the CBS broadcast from third place behind NBC's "Nightly News" and ABC's "World News Tonight."

About half of the respondents said they'd be willing to give Couric a try in the evening. One is Dian Miller of Shepherdsville, Kentucky, who is a loyal CBS viewer. "I like hearing Bob Schieffer," she said. "I liked Dan Rather, but I think a change is in order. I think it will be a lot better for other women coming up."


Brian Williams

During a time of transition in television news, Couric at least has a chance of making an impression. Brian Williams, who with only a year in the job at NBC's "Nightly News" is the longest-tenured evening news anchor, was judged most popular in a list of nine TV news personalities that also included Schieffer and Elizabeth Vargas of "World News Tonight."

That's the good news for Williams. The bad news is he was named by only 6 percent of the respondents. More than two-thirds didn't list a favorite.

Paul Wendel, a 30-year-old accountant from Newtown, Pennsylvania, said he associates the evening news with a somber, older person. "It doesn't mean she couldn't do a good job," he said, "but it isn't a person I would associate with the evening news."


Diane Sawyer

Only veteran broadcaster Diane Sawyer of ABC's "Good Morning America" received higher marks than Couric, with more than seven in 10 viewing her favorably. Unfortunately for Couric, she also had 12 percent of the people who flat-out didn't like her, higher than for any of the news personalities tested.

"I don't like her phony perkiness," said Desiree Dillon, a writer from Benicia, California. "I find her to be rather patronizing. Some of her guests she just talks down to, and she wears her opinions on her sleeve."

The AP-TV Guide poll of 615 adults was conducted by Ipsos on Monday and Tuesday. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Bob Schieffer

Six in 10 women said they would watch Couric in the evenings, compared with 38 percent of men. "She kind of bugs me," said Ethelene Fortner of Tulsa, Oklahoma. "I watched Bob Schieffer. He wasn't cocky and a know-it-all like most of them are."

Couric turned down an offer of about $20 million a year to stay at NBC in order to take CBS' five-year deal at near her current salary of about $15 million, according to people close to negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because networks do not speak publicly about salaries. She's also agreed to do "60 Minutes" stories and prime-time specials for CBS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't remember a time in television history when the shuffling of personnel have been more amicable. Although there does seem to be a high emotional content underneath, initially humor seems to be the call of the day.

After officially announcing Meredith Vieira as Matt's new co-anchor on "The Today Show" this morning, they aired a taped segment showing Matt and Meredith doing their first press conference yesterday. When they came back to a live shot of Katie and Matt at the desk, Matt turned to Katie with a somewhat guilty look on his face and said, "I feel like I'm cheating on you!" After an initial giggle, Katie reached out and held Matt's hand very lovingly. It was very touching.

Then, over on ABC, Barbara Walters was filling in as co-anchor aside Charlie Gibson this morning. For once, my timing was perfect as I caught a quip by Gibson about the whole network switcheroo. They had just come back from a commercial break and Charlie Gibson led the segment by looking directly into the camera and saying, "What you are seeing here is my audition interview for the vacancy on 'The View.'" Barbara Walters giggled and told him that there were too many things she COULD say right now but she chose not to.

All in all, whether you're on NBC, CBS or ABC, it seems all three major networks are not only free to discuss the personnel shuffle but openly have a bit of good-natured fun at its expense as well. Kudos to all concerned for sharing the wealth of information and humor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...


Natalie Morales Goes National on NBC 'Today'


Natalie Morales

"Today" contributor Natalie Morales has been promoted to national correspondent for the NBC morning show. Morales has been working on "Today" for several years, filling in for Katie Couric and others as well as contributing reports. Her new title is effective immediately, according to NBC News President Steve Capus.

Morales was considered a contender for Couric's job when Couric announced she will be leaving "Today," though it later went to "The View" co-host Meredith Vieira. Her new title carries a hefty responsibility. In her new job, Morales will report for "Today" and also regularly appear on the show's third hour with Al Roker and Ann Curry.

"For the third time in as many weeks, we find ourselves with another terrific announcement at 'Today,'" said News President Capus. "Natalie is a dedicated journalist and first-rate broadcaster. For years, she's been an important part of the program's extended family, and this just formalizes her role. I couldn't be happier about making it official."

Morales, who speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese, began her national on-air career in March 2002 as an anchor and correspondent at MSNBC. Before that, she worked at WVIT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut, as an anchor and reporter. She began her TV career at Court TV, worked in finance for two years and then started on-air at News 12 -- The Bronx.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...


'Today' E-x-p-a-n-d-s to 4 Hours


'Today' with Ann Curry, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Al Roker

NBC's "Today Show" will add a fourth hour in September, stretching television's most popular and lucrative morning show nearly into lunchtime. The fourth hour will likely resemble the current third hour, light on hard news and heavy on lifestyle segments, NBC executives said.

Al Roker and Ann Curry are currently hosts of the third hour, but NBC News President Steve Capus said it hasn't been determined who will do the fourth hour. "The key here is the quality," said executive producer Jim Bell. "It will connect with the 'Today' brand."

At the same time, NBC is canceling the soap opera, "Passions." Both moves reflect a trend that advertisers have less interest in traditional daytime TV while morning news and entertainment is considered a growth area. Fox is introducing a new network morning show on Monday.


The soap opera, 'Passions,' will soon be off of NBC's

regular daytime schedule

Roughly half of NBC affiliates are expected to take the fourth hour when it begins, Capus said. Some may air it at a different time of day. "Today" Host Matt Lauer, who will likely have little to do with the fourth hour, acknowledged that he was wary about the idea at first.

"You go into something like this with slightly mixed emotions," he said. "The one thing you don't want it to do is dilute the brand." But he said he understood the business reasons behind it and was confident it will work.

Lauer's co-host, Meredith Vieira, will have nothing to do with the fourth hour for contractual reasons. Since she is host of the game show, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," her contract forbids her from being a part of another show past 9 a.m. each day.


'Later Today' with (L-R) Asha Blake, Jodi Applegate

and Florence Henderson

Capus also said he expected better results from the fourth hour than the short-run "Later Today" program, which aired earlier this decade with Florence Henderson as a host. That show didn't work because it felt like something different from the "Today" show, he said.

"Today" recently remodeled its studio to overcome technical barriers to the expansion. "Today" occasionally does a new live version for the West Coast of its first half-hour during breaking news. Until the studio expanded, NBC wouldn't have had room to simultaneously do this and a live fourth hour.

How long can "Today" eventually become? Lauer had a quip for that. "At the end of the show, we're going to get to the point where I'm just going to hand it directly to Brian Williams," Lauer said. Williams anchors the "NBC Nightly News."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
  • 2 months later...


'Today' Eyes Minor 4th Hour Revamp


Ann Curry

When the fourth hour of "Today" goes on the air next month, there will be a familiar feel. But expect some surprises as well, the show's executive producer promises. "Today," one of NBC's bright spots, remains the leader in viewership and profitability after 55 years on the air.

After a successful third hour launched in 2000, NBC decided to add a fourth hour, which has received clearance in more than 90% of its affiliates, many of which will air the fourth hour immediately after the first three at 10 a.m.

The network on Tuesday officially anointed Ann Curry, Natalie Morales and Hoda Kotb as co-hosts for the hour along with appearances by a cast that includes David Gregory, Giada De Laurentiis and Tiki Barber. Anchors Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira aren't involved.

Executive producer Jim Bell said the fourth hour will look in many ways like the third hour, which he said focuses on "smart 'Today' show topics" like health and fitness, cooking and finances. But Bell said that there's an opportunity to loosen up a little bit.

"I think there will be days when it's a little more talk, it's a little more spontaneous, a little less formatted," Bell said. It will draw on the experiences and personalities of Curry and Morales, who are well known to "Today" audiences, as well as Kotb, who is a "Dateline" correspondent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I'm one of the few people I know who absolutely ADORED Katie. She was so spunky and funny. I liked how blunt she was as well when interviewing people. Miss her... but ever since my son got old enough to watch tv, I'm busy watching Sesame Street and Wiggles in the morning. I miss my favorite morning show!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...


Kathie Lee Returns To Morning TV

by Stephen M. Silverman


Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee Gifford was lurking behind Matt Lauer's back on Monday morning's "Today Show" as he made the big announcement that the former "Live!" co-host will become a "Today" regular next Monday, April 7

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.



Please enter your display name

  • Create New...