Thursday, April 06, 2006

Vieira Si, Brown No

Meredith Replaces The Katie At "Today," But Campbell Brown May Come Out The Winner In The End
OK, sometimes we're wrong. This space predicted Meredith Vieira wouldn't make the leap from her double duties at "The View" and "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" to wake up in the middle of the night to kibitz with Matt, Al and Ann.
But maybe it was the prestige. Or, maybe it was the reported $10 million a year NBC Big Cheese Jeff Zucker dangled in front of her.
Don't get me wrong. Despite Vieira having been on hiatus from hard news for more than a decade, she has enough cred from her past experience at CBS News to credibly carry the first hour of "Today" when hard-news dominates.
And she's more than prepared for the cooking, fashion, child-rearing and other fluff that is a morning-show staple, having logged thousands of hours as one of the yentas on "The View."
But did NBC really need her that badly to fork over that kind of dough? Probably not, but at least they put themselves in a position to ensure the show won't be weakened after Katie Couric apparates to CBS. And that's really all that matters when you have a show that's a solid number one.
As for Campbell Brown, co-hosting "Weekend Today"and being the prime sub for Couric during the week and Brian Williams on "NBC Nightly News" is hardly a gig to cry crocodile tears over. But clearly she had paid enough dues to merit a nod as Couric's successor.
With her contract reportedly having a year to run, look for her to either extract a big fat raise from the Peacock Gang or get wooed in an extremely serious way by the other networks. As a recent bride, she's probably not inclined to become a bridesmaid at work.

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