One of the most important things about anchoring the Today Show is having the ability to go from interviewing controversial news figures to dressing up like Lady Gaga for Halloween. Somehow Meredith managed to do this with ease, humor and grace. She can definitely take an interview subject to task and call their bluff, but my personal favorite moments are when Meredith is having fun with a guest and her co-hosts.
In 2006 I was a Page at NBC (Yes, like Kenneth on 30 Rock before he was a thing.) One of my rotating assignments was in news media -- the department responsible for handling the publicity for NBC News's programs like Nightly News, Dateline and the Today Show. Shortly after I started the news broke that long-time anchor Katie Couric would be leaving the show (check out Katie and I on her last day at NBC). Names quickly started flying about who would replace her.
The phones were buzzing off the hook with reporters calling from every media outlet asking if we knew who would take Couric's place. Honestly, I had no idea who would be joining Matt Lauer at the anchor desk -- being a Page didn't get you much confidential information -- but when the whispers finally became louder about Vieira joining the team I thought it was a great fit. A few months later it was Meredith's first day and viewers like me got to see first hand why she was such a great addition to Today.
Years after being a Page my career continued at NBC with iVillage.com. My gig was to bridge the gap between the site and the Today Show by managing content and blogs from its contributors. One our now-defunct blogs belonged to Meredith, who would write about her travels with Today. Our interaction was minimal -- mostly through emails with her producer -- but one year I did shoot her an email to wish her a happy birthday. She replied with a simple thank you note, but the fact that she took time to acknowledge it just confirmed that she was as genuine in real life as she appeared on TV.
Now Ann Curry will join Lauer as co-host of Today, but I will definitely miss mornings with Meredith at his side. From her interaction with her fellow talent to her questionable skills in the kitchen, I'm sure I'm not the only Today Show viewer who got a little misty-eyed watching her send off this morning. Watch this look back at Meredith Vieira's time with Today.
Anyone else feel emotional watching watching Meredith say goodbye? Leave a comment!