I’m behind on my news and just heard today that Kathie Lee Gifford is joining the Today show. I have to admit my immediate reaction was “What?!?
As a former Today show loyal, I don’t know if Kathie Lee “fits,” although the Today show has changed quite a bit since Katie left so maybe she fits the new Today. Katie was one of the main reasons I watched the Today show (and also the reason I now watch CBS news if I’m home in time to catch the national news). I like Meredith Viera OK, but I loved Katie.
Kathie Lee is going to be co-hosting the Today show’s fourth hour. I was at home a few weeks ago on the day Today expanded to four hours, and I kind of questioned that too. I remember when they went to three hours, how it seemed that last hour was so much fluff. Katie and Matt were usually off the air by then and the show was left to Ann, Al, and the weekend hosts or correspondents.
The fourth hour’s I’ve seen have been along the same lines: a lot of magazine editors giving tips on this and that, a lot of product promotion and some elaboration or rehashing of stories aired during the first two hours (in case you missed it). According to a March 8 New York Times article:
“NBC has struggled to find an audience for the fourth hour of ‘Today,’ which emphasizes softer subjects like fashion and shopping. Its viewership lags far behind that of ‘The View’ and ‘The Price Is Right’ in Los Angeles, for example, and trails ‘Rachael Ray’ in New York City, according to Nielsen Media Research.”
Maybe Kathie Lee can save the fourth hour. We’ll see. She starts next week.