Meredith Vieira is throwing her hat in the daytime talk-show ring.
The former Today co-anchor, The View chatter and (most recently) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host will front The Meredith Vieira Show, which NBC Universal will syndicate to local stations starting in September 2014. The show will be taped in New York City on a set that resembles Vieira's home, with her actual furniture and family photos, NBC says. And it will combine a typical mix of celebrities and human-interest segments with everyday people.
"As a journalist on Today and 60 Minutes, I learned how to really listen to people and help give them a voice," she says in a statement. On The View, I unleashed my own opinionated self and discovered the empowerment that comes with sometimes heated, but always respectful, discussion. And on Millionaire, I relished the joy of changing people's lives while having pure fun. All of these experiences, along with being a wife and mom, have led me here because they all share one common denominator ... this fundamental need we have to connect with and find inspiration in each other."
Vieira, now a special correspondent for NBC News, was among the most-liked Today hosts. Her departure in 2011 sent the show on a downward spiral and led ABC's rival Good Morning America to gradually overtake it as the No. 1 morning show. But daytime talk has been treacherous, too. Katie Couric, another former Today host, averaged just 2.3 million viewers in its first season and ranked behind fellow newcomer Steve Harvey among younger women. Shows led by Anderson Cooper, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst have been canceled, and a new crop of hosts is due this fall, including Queen Latifah and Bethenny Frankel.
Loved her on Today and I stopped watching after she left. Nice to have her back on the air again!