The NBC-TV morning news?/entertainment show Today has only been around for 61 years. The program, envisioned by Sylvester (Pat) Weaver, Sigourney’s dad, has had its controversies with staff, such as when Deborah Norville replaced Jane Pauley as co-anchor in 1990, to disastrous ratings until she herself was replaced by Katie Couric.
In the current drama, Meredith Viera as co-host was replaced by long-time newsreader Ann Curry. The ratings went down, Curry left, after giving a painfully personal farewell. Many blamed her ouster on co-host Matt Lauer, for no good reason I’ve read. So the scuttlebutt now is who will replace Lauer, even though no announcement of his departure has come from the network.
This generated this unscientific Parade magazine readers poll about who, if anyone, should replace Lauer:
Matt Lauer should stay on ‘Today’ 25.59%
Anderson Cooper 44.44% (CNN anchor of multiple shows)
Willie Geist 11.17% (former FOX news anchor now on NBC)
David Gregory 5.23% (host of NBC’s Meet the Press)
Ryan Seacrest 6.85% (host of FOX’s American Idol, and NBC contributor)
I don’t much care myself – I’ve been watching the CBS Morning Show, when I watch anything at all at that hour – except that a choice of Seacrest would be proof positive that Today should be run by the entertainment division, not the news.
Further speculation is that Lauer would replace Alex Trebek as host of the game show JEOPARDY! when he retires, presumably in a couple years.
From an Entertainment Weekly poll, equally unscientific:
Ken Jennings 42.32% (won more games on JEOPARDY! than anyone)
Anderson Cooper 25.15%
Seth Meyers 6.69% (from Saturday Night Live -SNL Weekend Update)
Tom Bergeron 5.98% (co-host of Dancing With The Stars and a number of other shows)
Andy Richter 3.59% (Conan O’Brien sidekick)
Rachel Maddow 3.34% (host of an MSNBC news program)
Meredith Vieira 3.31% (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host)
Matt Lauer 2%
(Did any of these people actually show an interest in the job?)
I suppose I DO care a bit about this, since I’ve been watching JEOPARDY! with Trebek or original host Art Fleming for more than half my life.
(A sarcastic Ken Levine suggests How Matt Lauer can save his career; some language may offend.)
Anderson Cooper also appears regularly on the CBS News program 60 Minutes and has swum with man-eating alligators.
Former SNL cast member Jimmy Fallon is scheduled to replace Jay Leno as host of the Tonight Show, also originally created by Pat Weaver near 60 years ago. I didn’t watch Johnny Carson much over his 30 years (1962-1992) on the show, or his successor, Leno. I tended to watch talk show host Dick Cavett (1969-1975) , and later, the news program Nightline (1980-2005).
To the degree I care at all, I should note that Fallon went to the College of Saint Rose in Albany. NY, about four blocks from my house, and grew up only 40 minutes south of here, in Saugerties, NY. He is bringing the show back to NYC, after four decades in Los Angeles, thanks in part to some tax incentives doled out by New York State. Who will replace Fallon on the show that follows Tonight? Hey, why not Anderson Cooper? Apparently, he can do it all.