The Second Worst-kept Secret in TV Land

What Everyone Is Talking About Today

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NEW YORK ( -- If Katie Couric's departure to CBS was the worst-kept secret in TV land, then Meredith Vieira's arrival as her replacement at NBC's "Today" was the second worst. This morning it was Ms. Vieira's turn to bid adieu on air to her viewers and to her co-stars on ABC's "The View" -- Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Viewers, prepare yourselves for weeks of goodbyes, retrospectives and oceans of tears.
Photo: AP
Meredith Vieira

"At least I'll be able to watch you on the show now," Ms. Vieira said. Ms. Walters reminded viewers that Ms. Vieira wouldn't be leaving for another two months, to which Ms. Vieira joked, "I'm not?" (She will be parking her behind on the “Today” couch in September.)

In a press release about the move, Ms. Vieira's trademark humor was in evidence. "Before Jeff [Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal Television Group] changes his mind, I am honored to accept this amazing opportunity." Even he future co-host Matt Lauer was pressed into a quote about his new co-anchor, "I have been her fan for years and I can't wait to be her partner."

The wooing of Katie to rival CBS has garnered a stunning amount of press coverage -- she was front-page news on The New York Times today and got a full page of analysis inside. While one might expect NBC's "Access Hollywood" to run a long segment on Katie (or is it Catherine now?), it was strange to see even PBS's usually dry "News Hour" dedicating a roundtable discussion to her move to the anchor chair at CBS.

Perhaps all the coverage is justified, as Gail Ettinger, national broadcast director at KSL told Watercooler yesterday, one of her friends is distraught about the prospect of not seeing Katie in the morning. When Gail pointed out Ms. Couric will still be on air every evening, the friend replied, "Well who watches the evening news?"

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