Former “Today Show” co-host Meredith Vieira is coming back to talk TV with her own daytime show, NBC Universal announced Tuesday.
The show — titled “The Meredith Vieira Show” — will be sold in syndication to local TV stations for a planned launch in fall 2014, NBC Universal said. Among those stations will be the ones that NBC owns, presumably.
The press release described a show that would be “taped on a set that resembles [Vieira's] home, complete with her actual furniture and family photos” — an approach we’ve never come across previously in an afternoon talk show announcement.
The rest of the announcement talked in somewhat vague terms about a show that would comprise “insightful storytelling … [and] an exceptional mix of daytime fun along with feel-good human interest stories from everyday people to celebrity guests.” The show will be based in New York, the announcement said.
Our take: This is a great idea, despite all the risks associated with launching another daytime talk show, including the competition, of course, and the ever-shrinking audience for that daypart. Having said that, Vieira, 59, has proven time and time again to be one of TV’s most durable and most likable personalities. On that level, developing a daytime talk show around her seems like a no-brainer.
And we’re intrigued by the track her career is on and its similarities to Katie Couric’s. Vieira succeeded Couric on “Today” and quickly (if not instantly) made herself right at home — even surpassing Couric’s appeal and popularity in the eyes of many. Vieira was a co-host on “The View,” of course, something Couric never got to do, however. Based on Vieira’s resume — and her apparent popularity — someone probably had the idea that, if Katie Couric can do reasonably well with a daytime talk show, why can’t Meredith Vieira? In fact, Vieira is in much the same position Couric was in the months leading up to the launch of “Katie”: Vieira’s still a special correspondent for NBC News programs, as Couric was for ABC’s.
If the Couric show, distributed by ABC/Disney and seen on a number of ABC-owned stations and affiliates, lasts through its second season (starting this September), the two will get a chance to compete in the afternoon starting in 2014.