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September 13, 2006
Lincoln School students welcome R.I.'s Vieira to Today / Photo
Journal photo / Kathy Borchers
Students from the Lincoln School in Providence, where Meredith Vieira was a member of the Class of 1971, greeted Vieira during a live feed from the school this morning as part of Vieira's welcome to the Today show.
NEW YORK -- Starting a new era on television's most popular morning show, Rhode Island native Meredith Vieira made her debut today as Matt Lauer's partner on NBC's Today show.
"I feel like it's the first day of school and I'm sitting next to the cutest guy," Vieira said at the show's opening. The longtime CBS newswoman and recent host on daytime's The View replaces Katie Couric.
The show also took the wraps off a rebuilt studio in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center after spending the summer in temporary digs, and began broadcasting in high definition.
-- The Associated Press and projo.com reports
Today hasn't lost in the morning ratings in more than a decade and is television's most profitable show, so NBC has a lot riding on Vieira.
Couric's exit didn't put a dent in the show's ratings dominance during the summer and now NBC hopes that viewers accept Vieira into the family.
"There has never been a team that is better prepared to do this job than the one we've got," said Steve Capus, NBC News president.
Vieira had a serious tone and approach with Tim Russert this morning as they discussed the November general election and the war in Iraq.
Then, she was laughing and joking with Lauer just a few minutes later as she held up the latest People magazine issue, with a photo of him bare-chested on the beach. She cut to a clip of President Bush greeting Lauer with a copy of the magazine in hand.
“He’s turned on by your abs,” she laughingly told her new TV partner, who also has connections with Rhode Island and Vieira's former employer, Channel 10. He was co-host of the station's PM Magazine from 1981 to 1985.
Then, she flubbed her line a bit as they signed off for a 7:20 a.m. commercial break and left us with an image of the two co-hosts laughing together and seeming to enjoy themselves.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 7:48 AM | Permalink
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