Tag Archives: Matt Lauer

Know how?

The_More_You_Know_2011Matt Lauer just told me that I need to sit down with my kids and show them how to use the Information Superhighway…so one day they can navigate the road on their own.

The more you know…

Did you know NBC has been producing those cheesy PSAs for 25 years?

I think they are some of the more cringe-worthy moments in television writing history, and I only have to watch them.  The poor celebrities have to try and sell the stuff.  But the network keeps cranking it out to meet their public service commitment to the local community.

Now, I’m not saying the ideas behind the messages aren’t good.  But there has to be a more creative way to do it.  Music videos. Demonstrations. Puppets. You name it.

I think the celebrity spokespersons and the audiences would appreciate it (and actually listen to the darn things for a change).

Someone has to know that.

The Olympic domino effect

When you visit Sochi, the water in the sink looks like this.

sochi water






When you wash your face in that water, your eyes look like this.

bob costas ick






When your eyes look like this, you have to give your prime-time Olympics anchor chair to Matt Lauer.






And when you let Matt Lauer anchor the Olympics in prime-time, babies cry.

babies crying






Don’t make babies cry, Bob Costas.

Stay away from shitty water.

Giddy up

Meredith Vieira left Today earlier this month to spend more time with her family.  (She said she wouldn’t miss that early morning wake-up call, either.)

Kudos to Meredith for knowing that exiting the show was the right thing for her.

I wonder if Matt Lauer needs some time for that same kind of personal reflection?



On February 15, 1961, Sabena Flight 548 crashed en route to Brussels from New York City.  The entire United States Figure Skating team was on board en route to the 1961 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

There were no survivors.

Since this happened before I was born, I have no memories of the crash, or of the Championships being canceled due to the overwhelming impact of the catastrophe on the sport.

My first memories — sketchy at best at age five — are of Peggy Fleming winning a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 1968.  (Tim Wood won a silver medal as well.)

Knowing now that the US team lost all its skaters and coaches a mere seven years before makes these accomplishes even more incredible than they already are.

Tonight I’m going to learn more about the history of the 1961 US World Figure Skating Team — and the teams that have come after them — in a live event being broadcast from New York City to theatres across the country.

Rise commemorates the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that claimed the lives of the 1961 US World Figure Skating Team.  Matt Lauer hosts the event, and several biggies from figure skating are scheduled to appear.  Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to further the mission of US Figure Skating’s Memorial Fund, which was established on February 23, 1961, as a living legacy of those who lost their lives.

If you love figure skating like I do, and are interested in learning more about the history of the sport, join me at a theatre near you!

Rise will have an encore showing in theatres nationwide on Monday, March 7th.  Visit www.rise1961.com for details.

Gotta gotta go

Matt Lauer, you are a man with a target on your back.

Your contract with “Today” doesn’t end until spring of next year, and already there’s chatter about your potential replacements should you choose to leave.  (Your rumored marital trouble has added fuel to that fire, no doubt.)

Jon Friedman at MarketWatch.com wants to swap you for a girl…and from one of NBC’s own sister networks.  He makes a case — after thoughtfully arguing the pros and cons — for Erin Burnett.  Working on CNBC’s financial news network, Burnett can “enliven the often boring, numbers-laden day,” says Friedman.  Plus, she needs to be promoted or the network could lose her.

All good points, I’m sure.

But Matt, if you should choose to leave — and it sounds like you may need to spend more time at home — we both know the right man to take over at the “Today” desk.

David Gregory.  The Gregster.  The I-can-cover-politics-like-no-one-else-and-still-dance-like-a-mad-man-at-the-Toyota-Concert-Series current back-up anchor extraordinaire.

David Gregory has the journalist cred of a Brian Williams, and the fun, playful sense of humor of…a Brian Williams.  “Today” won’t let that opportunity slip by, will it?

NBC has gotta go with Gregory if you, Matt, decide…ya gotta go.

“Today” bites

The phrase “jump the shark” was born in 1977.  On the sitcom “Happy Days”, the Fonz donned water skis during a trip to Los Angeles and jumped a shark tank to prove his bravery.  At that moment, our favorite 50’s family took a fateful step toward — or was it into — something very wrong.

At that point, “Happy Days” had been on the air for five years, and hung around for another seven before its demise.  But even the stars of the show saw the writing on the wall and started exiting en mass.

This morning, the long-running “Today Show” not only jumped the shark, but I’m pretty sure the shark caught it in its mouth, chewed it up and spit it out.

The usually dignified Matt Lauer and the rest of the “Today Show” crew gathered at Medieval Times to shoot a piece about what they do in their ‘down time.’  Dressed in medieval gear, they chowed down at a feast in the Hall of Arms and then were challenged by the King to defend his honor in a battle of arms.

Shockingly, the “Today Show” gang won the highly choreographed fight and were individually knighted by the King and his daughter.

When they returned to the studio, Matt’s comment “If anyone is still watching…” was a little too close to the money.  The piece wasn’t funny at all; it played like bad children’s theatre.

Then they went to commercial promoting the fact that Meredith was producing the fourth hour of the show.

Oh yes, the “Today Show” has jumped the shark.

The question is:  will it take a cast change to right the ship?

Remembering Katie

Do you remember the first time you saw Katie Couric on network television?

I do.

She was reporting live from the Pentagon during Operation Desert Shield.  She was young and fresh and sincere and, since my oldest brother was one of the first responders in Iraq, I appreciated her honesty and empathy.

Before you knew it, she was co-anchor of  “The Today Show.”  Her bubbly enthusiasm was a nice foil for Bryant Gumbel’s arrogant intelligence (tinged with warmth only when absolutely necessary).  When Matt Lauer replaced Bryant, the two developed a nice partnership.

Katie was in her element, and all was right with the world.

But her eye was on the ultimate prize — the nightly news desk.  The big boys’ chair.  As a former broadcast journalism major myself, I understood Katie’s drive to sit at the ultimate throne.  But I worried about what she would have to do to succeed there.

And look at her now.  Nearing the end of her contract, I barely recognize the woman who sits there.  In fact, she barely looks female.

Her haircut is atrocious.  (If you wanted to look like a man, Katie, congratulations.)  Your facial expression is stern.  Your personality drained of any resemblance to the warmth and connection to your audience that got you where you are today.

You tried to fit into this job, Katie, instead of making it your own.  And what do you have to show for it?

Third place ratings. Constant criticism about your performance and outrageous salary. And Diane Sawyer — another female nightly news anchor — coming in late in the game and doing it her way…better.

Leave the anchor desk, Katie, and go find yourself again. We liked that girl.

And I’ll bet you did, too.