Vieira (Mostly) Wants To Stay Anchored

By Brian 

By now, we all know about Jeff Zucker‘s SUV pitch to Meredith Vieira last October. In this Sunday’s NYT Magazine profile of the new Today co-host, Lisa Belkin adds some details: “Over the next few months he got more specific, assuring her that travel would be limited (with the exception of the Olympics, because, she says, ‘everyone has to go to the Olympics’). He told her that her insistence that her work not overwhelm her life was one reason he wanted her for the job.”

We also know about Vieira’s first dinner meeting at Matt Lauer‘s apartment.. The story adds some details about that, too:

  Vieira asked him whether anchoring ‘Today’ would mean regularly leaving home on short notice to cover the news. “It doesn’t happen often,” Lauer replied. “I can count on one hand the number of times that’s actually happened.”

Vieira left, called Glantz and said, “I could really work with this guy,” but by the end of the phone call she was nowhere near ready to commit.

Lauer was woken up at 1 that night by a call from the show. “They said, ‘There’s a private plane at Teterboro, we need you in West Virginia by morning, the miners have been found alive.” It turned out, sadly, not to be true, but the show opened with Lauer on location. A minute or two before 7 a.m., he thought: I told Meredith last night that this never happens. She’s going to be watching and thinking, That liar.

She was watching, and she did rib Lauer later in the day, but by March she had accepted the job…

And Vieira isn’t ruling out trips to hot spots. “There are places I know I will want to go. If Katrina had happened on my watch, I would have wanted to be there,” she says…