Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Much Anticipated Unveiling

Today marked the beginning of a new era at The Today Show:
Meredith Vieira debuts on 'Today'

Meredith Vieira debuted Wednesday as Matt Lauer's partner on NBC's "Today" show, saying she felt "like it's the first day of school and I'm sitting next to the cutest guy."

Television's most popular morning show also took the wraps off a rebuilt studio in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center, and began broadcasting in high definition.
Which was really odd, because I thought they had been broadcasting in HiDef for a while now, but what do I know, except I pick it up on my HiDef set, and today it did look different.

But back to Viera. Contrasting her to Katie Couric is a little like contrasting Baby Spice to Posh Spice, I think. Katie Couric was the kind of girl you'd take on a first date to a picnic, followed by a walk in the woods, where you'd steal a few kisses, with one eye out for someone else on the trail...maybe play with her boobs if she let you.

Meredith Viera is the type of girl you'd take to a smoky jazz club on the first date, where you'd sip bourbon with her, all the while making bedroom eyes at each other. By the end of the night, her dress would be slightly disheveled from the encounter by the restroom, with the promise of more to come as you poured yourselves into a cab.

But, there's the Spice Girl angle for both, which means, you ain't getting any from neither, because they're put there for your indulgence, not your attainment. And there's the rub.

A couple of comments regarding Viera's first day, which I caught some of. First, why is the Today Show adamant about turning her into Katie lite? I remember Viera form her stint on WBCS in NYC. She was a tough journalist in a time when tough journalists were still valued, even if that was gradually changing to Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" horror story about bubbleheaded bleach blondes who can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye.

Trouble was, she hated reporting on the news.

I can't imagine why: you sit there and repeat what someone with an agenda has told you, and you can't express an opinion without getting a flood of letters from low-normals who think the world is only "one way" and it's not your way. Hell, you can't even let the other side of the story tell itself without getting that flood of letters.

She's a broad, if her comment about putting the "broad" in "broadcasting" is any indication, and they ought to play up that angle to its hilt. Katie was this little fluff bunny. I'd love to see Viera come out for the annual Halloween dress-up as Elvira, cleavage and all. She doesn't look like she'll try to be perfect, which is going to be a big relief, unless NBC decides to break her of the habit of making mistakes and then making a deal about them.

Watch highlights of her first morning here

Good luck, Meredith.