Monday is “Today’s” most-watched day of the week this season. Tuesday and Wednesdays — the mornings after “Dancing With the Stars” broadcasts — are the big mornings for “GMA” this season.
Couric is co-anchoring “GMA” all this week while Robin Roberts takes a vacation. Couric’s also getting ready to launch her syndicated daytime talk show in the fall; it’s being exec-produced by her former “Today” exec producer and distributed by ABC parent Disney.
After “GMA” announced its week-long Couric booking, “Today” promoted some big “gets” for the same week. Monday’s promised to be a “surprise legend.” It turned out to be NBC News correspondent Meredith Vieira, who announced that she would participate in NBC’s coverage of the Summer Games in London.
NBC noted Tuesday that rival “GMA” enjoyed bigger ratings two Mondays ago than it did this past Monday with Couric.
This is true: Two Mondays ago, “GMA” averaged 4.97 million viewers. That Monday, “GMA” beat “Today.”
On her second day of “Good Morning America” co-anchoring, Katie faced even stiffer competition — “Today” had lined up Sarah Palin to co-anchor, for the 8 a.m. hour, anyway.
Actually, Palin didn’t co-anchor so much as appear in every scene while Matt Lauer and Ann Curry co-anchored. The point here is that Palin, dressed in “Johnny Cash” — her description — to work the Rockefeller Center crowd that gathers around the “Today” gang when it goes outside, reminded viewers that she’s a “Mama Grizzly” and that she favors potluck and caribou on the grill to mini-cupcakes. She made that remark during Ann’s interview with pregnant Tori Spelling about mini-cupcakes, jam-covered brie wheels and crafting. She also advised Oprah Winfrey that if she wants to attract more viewers to her OWN network she needs to “book more . . . patriots.”
Meanwhile Lauer, in the midst of drawn-out contract negotiations with NBC parent Kabletown, er, Comcast, and apparently unhappy that Palin had been imposed on him, tried to defend the postage-stamp-size integrity left to news guys who anchor morning infotainment shows by taking whacks at Palin.
After welcoming her to the “lamestream media” he asked her if she thought whoever becomes the GOP presidential candidate should pick a running mate with as little experience “on the national battlefield” as she had when she was Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008. During a camera shot of Palin using his dressing room, he told viewers that she’d taken the room without his permission.
(The day before, when Matt and the rest of the “Today” gang spoke to Palin by phone about her Tuesday guest gig, he asked her pointedly if she planned to read any newspapers to prepare for the day.)