Don’t expect Meredith Vieira to be leaving “Today” within the year.
Several media sources are reporting that Vieira, who co-anchors the “Today” desk with Matt Lauer, has extended her contract until fall 2011. Her current pact was set to expire in September.
NBC declined to confirm or deny the new deal, saying it doesn’t comment on contracts.
Vieira was appearing daily on “The View” before she came aboard “Today” in 2006 as the replacement for longtime host Katie Couric, who moved out of the ayem shift and switched networks to anchor “The CBS Evening News.”
The last thing the Peacock needs right now is another public transition of a top personality following the Jay Leno-Conan O’Brien fiasco. That brouhaha resulted in O’Brien leaving “The Tonight Show” and Leno coming back to host the iconic latenight franchise after execs shipped him to 10 p.m. last fall.
“Today” is a major money earner for NBC and remains the most-watched morning program despite a closing of the ranks. The program, which falls under the network’s news division, has been first for 741 consecutive weeks. During the first week of the recent Vancouver Olympics, “Today” topped ABC’s “Good Morning America” by more than 2 million viewers.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” has recently seen a changing of the guard. George Stephanopoulos, a member of the Clinton Administration and host of Sunday ayem political talker “This Week” since 2002, came aboard in December to replace new “ABC World News” host Diane Sawyer.