Thursday, April 06, 2006

Selling Polident with a Smile

By Daniel Gale-Grogen

It became official yesterday morning: Katie Couric, the longest-running co-host of NBC's "Today," would be moving to CBS to whip into shape the network's somewhat-beleaguered "The CBS Evening News with the Gasbag from Face the Nation." The news was surprising to five people living in separate fallout shelters, lean-tos, World War II foxholes, white separatist compounds and the White House.

On "Today," Couric discussed the internal organ-directed decision process while co-host Matt Lauer looked on -- calm on the outside, throwing a huge drunken party on the inside:

"After listening to my heart and my gut, two things that have served me pretty well in the past, I have decided I'll be leaving 'Today' at the end of May. I can't tell you how grateful I am for all the support you all have given me. I could not have asked for a more talented partner or a better friend ... I think I'm going to miss him most of all. Sometimes I think change is good thing. Although it can be terrifying to get out of your comfort zone, it's also very exciting to start a new chapter in your life."

So, it's goodbye to the annual televised colonoscopies, the uncomfortable flirting with rising Hollywood stars, the carping about excessive sex in pop culture and that strange anti-chemistry between Couric and Lauer, who sometimes act as though they would like to set the other on fire. Now, the armchair quarterbacking begins.

It seems as though it is in the can for Meredith Viera, the former "60 Minutes" anchor and current henhouse referee on "The View." Personally, I thought Viera was dunzo -- after leaving the stopwatch crew to do the family thing, she would never again manage to climb the ladder. Something must have worked, and it was probably a superhuman desire to get as far away from Star Jones as possible.

How must it feel to be an also-ran? Ann Curry never seemed like she was being tracked to the co-anchor desk, and besides, she is one of the most annoying interviewers on the show -- she never lets anyone talk, and she tends to be so shrill when the clock is ticking on a time-compressed segment, most of her subjects look a little cowed and ready to bolt.

Campbell Brown and Natalie Morales were names that came up, but Brown is the host of "Weekend Today," and as Soledad O'Brien found out before jumping to CNN, that is not a fast-track to weekdays, either. Morales, while photogenic beyond reason, simply doesn't have the personality to make it in the co-chair.

As Ken Tucker noted on, millions of people still watch the evening news on the networks, even if it is millions less than did 20 years ago. Granted, they tend to need a lot of maintenance pharmaceuticals and don't drink a lot of Red Bull, but they are dependable viewers with mortared-in habits. They'll love that young whippersnapper Katie -- "She just seems like such a nice girl!"

As for the rest of us, particularly those of us who do not watch a single show on the Tiffany Network, it will be as if Katie Couric had spun off the globe and taken up residence on Alpha Centauri.


At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Al Roker said...

I guess my grassroots campaign for Brooke Burke isn't going to pan out.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Larry Mondello said...

Maybe she can continue her colonoscopies at 60 minutes by pointing a camera at Andy Rooney. He's a huge asshole.

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Shit, I am slapping my leg Larry.


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