NBC made its hiring of a new ''Today'' co-anchor official today, going with Meredith Vieira. That feels like a very low-risk move by the network. Vieira has news credentials but also has an established personality, mainly through her appearances on ''The View.''
Here's the announcement:
New York, N.Y., April 6, 2006 - Meredith Vieira has been named co-anchor of NBC News' "Today," it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal Television Group. Vieira will join the number-one rated morning show, and her new colleagues Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Al Roker, this September.
"This is an announcement that I couldn't be happier to be making," said Zucker. "Meredith's vast experience as an award-winning journalist, as well as talk show host, make her the ideal candidate for this job. She joins a distinguished legacy of 'Today' show co-anchors: from Barbara Walters to Jane Pauley to Katie Couric. We're lucky to have her as the newest member of 'Today,' and I am thrilled to welcome her to the NBC family."
"Before Jeff changes his mind, I am honored to accept this amazing opportunity," said Vieira. "Not only is the 'Today' show a great program within a superb news organization, it's also where America turns to begin the day. I look forward to joining Matt, Ann and Al in giving America the best each morning."
"Meredith is a real pro, and I think it speaks volumes that NBC has brought her here to 'Today,'" said Matt Lauer. "I have been her fan for years and I can't wait to be her partner. She has the perfect background and personality to make a real mark on this show and in morning news in general. I'm thrilled to welcome her aboard."
"It's a tribute to everyone at 'Today,' and all of NBC News, that someone of Meredith's caliber has joined our team," said NBC News President Steve Capus. "She is an eight-time Emmy award winner, a 60 Minutes veteran and real pro ? her skills will be invaluable at 'Today' and throughout the division. We can't wait to get started."
"It has to be every executive producer's dream to be facing a transition and then be given a tremendous talent like Meredith Vieira to join your team," said "Today" Executive Producer Jim Bell. "To face a transition and still be able to say that you've got the best team in morning television is a pretty great feeling."
Vieira has been moderator of ABC's "The View" since the show's inception in 1997. She has been the host of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" since 2002. She started at the network in 1993 when she joined their news division as Chief Correspondent of "Turning Point," which debuted in March 1994 and where she earned her seventh Emmy Award.
Vieira spent more than a decade at CBS News, where she garnered five Emmy Awards for her work as a correspondent on the top-ranking news magazines "60 Minutes" and "West 57th". From 1989 to 1991 she was a co-editor of "60 Minutes." In addition she won an Emmy for the "60 Minutes" report, Thy Brother's Keeper, a story on Christians who saved Jews during the Holocaust. After two successful seasons, and pregnant with her second child, Vieira left "60 Minutes."
Vieira also frequently anchored the "CBS Morning News" and was contributing national correspondent on the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather." In June 1991, she became contributing correspondent for the CBS News primetime series "Verdict" as well, reporting on actual courtroom trials.
Prior to joining "60 Minutes," she had been a principal correspondent for CBS News' "West 57th," since its premiere in August 1985. In 1989 she received four Emmy Awards for stories she reported on "West 57th" during its 1987-88 season. Vieira joined CBS News as a reporter in its Chicago bureau in January 1982. She was named a correspondent in 1984 and covered Senator Alan Cranston's presidential bid, the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco and, as a correspondent, election night 1984.
Before joining CBS News, she was a reporter for WCBS-TV for three years, the CBS-owned television station in New York City. Her assignments included the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, the trial of Jean Harris in 1981 and a series on child molestation that earned her a Front Page Award from the Newswoman's Club of New York. She also served as a substitute anchor on the station's news broadcasts. Previously she was a reporter and anchor at WJAR-TV in Providence, Rhode Island. She began her career as a news announcer for WORC-Radio in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1975.
Heavily involved with numerous philanthropic organizations, Vieira is a frequent contributor to several charitable foundations. She is also part of Club Mom's Senior Advisory Board, as well as one of its seven co-founders, along with actor Andrew Shue, which officially launched in May 2004. In May 2001, she received the Safe Horizon Champion Award and from City of Hope the Woman of the Year Award. She has also been honored by the Anti-Defamation League. In April 2004, she received the Mother of the Year Award from The Pajama Program, which collects and distributes bedtime books and pajamas to underprivileged children.
A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Vieira received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She and her husband and their three children live in New York.