Katie Couric got a little help from a friend to launch her new daytime talk show Monday afternoon.
The friend was Matt Lauer, her “TV husband” from another network, who was seen in a specially produced opening sequence, where Lauer turned up in the bed next to Katie’s. Couric and Lauer worked together for 15 years as co-hosts of “The Today Show.” He still works at NBC, and she’s now employed by ABC.
The appearance by Lauer was the surprise “punch line” of a sequence that had Couric in bed, apparently dreaming while her disembodied voice was heard saying farewell to “The Today Show” in 2006 and mentioning her subsequent stint as anchor of “The CBS Evening News.”
She was then seen waking up and speaking to the covered figure in the next bed and questioning whether her entire past was a dream. Suddenly, the figure sat up, and it was Lauer, telling her it was not a dream, and that she’s about to host her own talk show.
In the seconds before Lauer made his presence known, it was possible to guess that the figure was someone else, maybe even David Letterman, whose voice was heard during the “dream” sequence — a piece of audio taken from an appearance Couric had made on Letterman’s “Late Show.”
Watch a clip from the “Katie” premiere:
As the opening sequence came to a close, Lauer was asking Couric if she was ready for her new show. And she was ready — the show that followed was a textbook case in TV professionalism.
Clearly, Couric, 55, is extremely comfortable on TV, and her new show (titled “Katie”) came on the air with that “fully formed” feeling, unlike other new talk shows that seem to take a few days (or a few weeks) to hit their stride.
Couric seemed right at home, as she greeted her audience, introduced her two daughters and her mother sitting in the audience, and then sat down for separate interviews with Jessica Simpson and then Sheryl Crow.
The whole thing went flawlessly.