NBC’s “Today” show found itself with a public relations disaster on its hands Tuesday when someone noticed the show not air the annual moment of silence that’s held on this day at 8:46 a.m., in New York City and Washington, marking the time when the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001.
The moment of silence, being observed by first responders in New York and by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House in Washington, was carried live by the cable networks, and by ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning.”
What had people’s undies in a bunch was not only “Today’s” decision not to carry the annual MOS, but the fact that, at that moment, “Today’s Savannah Guthrie was interviewing Kris Jenner, aka Mama Kardashian, about the the E! reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and Kris’s breast implants. Or rather, the expiration date on her breast implants and how important it is for breast-implanted women to keep track of their implant expiration dates.
Not coincidentally, this Sunday marks the season finale of the latest “Kardashians” season.
Faster than you can say “All the world’s TV critic on Twitter,” people were taking whacks at NBC and “Today” show which, we should probably note here, has not carried the annual moment of silence for the past several years, excepting last year which marked the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon.
“The terrorists just won” tweeted one master of understatement.
“#NBC talking about Kris Kardashian's boobs at 8:46? #epicfail #respect,” chimed in another.
“How is NBC Today marking the 11th anniversary of the moment the first plane hit? By interviewing Kris Kardashian. #NBCFail #understatement,” added yet another.
There was loads more where those came from. And journalists weighed in too, calling it “an odd bit of counterprogramming,” and a “jarring contrast,” with some gleefully noting NBC was being torched on Twitter.
“Today” show on Tuesday did in fact dedicate “a portion of its time to Sept. 11 coverage throughout the entire show,” a show rep noted when contacted by the TV Column.
“Today’s” coverage commemorating the terrorist attacks in ‘01 included a lengthy segment with a 9/11 survivor earlier in the show. Also included in Tuesday’s “Today” show broadcast were multiple shots of Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower, seen throughout the program. And, it was a topic of discussion in the show’s regular Today’s Professionals segment.
Meanwhile, NBC News’s cable network telecast the entire “Today” show broadcast from Sept. 11, 2001 — an MSNBC tradition since 2006.
None of which matters, of course, if NBC-hate is trending on Twitter, and your once wildly popular morning infotainment show is struggling to recapture viewers but has instead been beaten by “Good Morning America” eight of the past 10 weeks.
It’ll get even uglier if anyone savaging NBC News’s programming decision remembers NBC-parent Comcast owns E! and Ryan Seacrest — the bright new star in the “Today” show firmament — is an exec producer of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”