There won’t be three days of farewells for Meredith Vieira.
That means Oprah Winfrey will still reign as the Queen of the Three-Day Good-bye when Vieira says farewell on Wednesday’s “Today” show on NBC.
Yes, it’s Meredith’s last week on morning TV – actually not even a week, but just three days, culminating on Wednesday. That’s when you can tune in expecting to see clip retrospectives of Meredith highlights, perhaps some good luck wishes from various celebrities, either in person or on videotape, and heaven knows what else.
A spokeswoman for the show wouldn’t spill any secrets because she assumed we’d report them and then Meredith would have gotten wind of them. And we have to admit that the spokeswoman was probably right about that.
We do know this: This farewell will be confined to Wednesday’s show (barring any unforeseen good-byes on Tuesday). On Monday morning, Meredith’s exit in just two days was barely noted as Meredith, Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Natalie Morales reported the day’s news, introduced segments and conducted interviews just like any other day (among the interview subjects: Kate Gosselin, whose TLC series “Kate Plus 8” returns Monday night at 10/9c).
At nearly 8:30, the “Today” show ran a promo spot for Wednesday’s farewell show. A little later, another spot aired for the farewell show, but this spot also ballyhooed Thursday’s show, on which Lauer’s new co-host, Ann Curry, will begin her new job.
Other than that, Al and Matt teased Meredith exactly once about her imminent farewell when she accused Matt of predicting rain this morning in New York, when the weather was clear and sunny. “Just two more days, Al,” Matt said in a mock-exasperated tone to Roker. And Roker replied: “It’s like there’s another channel running in her head!”
We’re becoming accustomed to these good-byes lately, aren’t we? There was Larry King’s farewell last December (which featured a good-bye from President Obama, on videotape), and there was Katie Couric’s good-bye to CBS News a few weeks ago. (Of course, we all remember Katie’s own festive farewell from “Today” five years ago – when her good-bye took up most of the two-hour show.)
And there was Oprah last month – with her three days of non-stop farewells (actually, the entire season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was one long farewell – the longest in the history of TV, if not the world).
We’ll miss Meredith and look forward to seeing some highlights we remember from her five years on “Today”: Will Ferrell dropping her on her head on the Rockefeller Center ice rink, Jane Fonda using a four-letter word in an interview, and Meredith herself letting a few expletives fly.
How many of these good-byes can we take? Well, just one more to go – Regis Philbin’s, presumably some time this summer.