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Video: A look back at Meredith’s morning magic

updated 6/8/2011 8:41:23 AM ET 2011-06-08T12:41:23

Meredith Vieira’s nearly five-year tenure as co-anchor of TODAY comes to an end today, leaving the show’s friends, family and fans to celebrate her memorable stint on America’s No. 1 morning show alongside Matt Lauer.

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Meredith, 57, announced on May 9 that she would be leaving TODAY to spend more time with her husband, Richard, and children, Ben, Gabe and Lily.

Richard and Meredith’s dog Jasper both accompanied Meredith on her last day on set Wednesday. At the top of the show, Matt talked about the surprises in store for her big farewell. Meredith said of her decision to leave, “I know it’s right, but it’s hard.”

Meredith says last 'good morning' on TODAY

Yesterday, fans on Twitter shared their favorite Meredith moments with the hashtag #meredithmoment, and her fellow TODAY anchors shared their favorite memories on the show.

Story: Meredith Vieira to leave TODAY in June; Ann Curry named co-anchor

Natalie jokingly remembered Meredith being labeled “Miss Van-cougar’’ at the Vancouver Olympics, Al Roker recalled a fun-filled trip to Dublin, and Ann thought back to Meredith’s reporting at the Beijing Olympics and an incident in which the two anchors ended up soaking wet.

“This is when I really realized how out of control you could be,’’ Ann joked before turning serious. “That was the beginning of when I really felt like a sister to you.’’

Video: TODAY’s favorite Meredith moments (on this page)

Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford laughed about the time Meredith served as guest producer on the fourth hour of TODAY and fed them grapes on a beach in one segment. Kathie Lee also brought her characteristic humor to the farewell later on Tuesday’s show before turning more serious.

“It seems like we’ve been saying goodbye to Meredith forever,’’ Kathie Lee cracked. “When is the woman leaving?!’’

“None of us are happy about it,’’ she added. “We’re broken-hearted.’’

  1. TODAY says farewell to Meredith
    1. Images: The many sides of Meredith

      During her nearly five years at TODAY, viewers have come to know Meredith Vieira as a savvy newswoman with a zany streak. ...

    2. Meredith’s farewell: ‘All of you I will put in my heart’
    3. Thanks, Meredith, for keeping it real — mom-style
    4. TODAY’s favorite Meredith moments
    5. TODAY lets Meredith know we won't stop believing!
    6. Spills, food fights, more Meredith kitchen moments

Matt recalled a flub Meredith made while throwing to a commercial break on her first day as co-anchor, but noted it also showed a side of her that made her beloved to the audience and her co-workers.

Archive video: Meredith recounts career on first day

“You don’t take yourself too seriously, you’re willing to laugh with a lot of other people, but also at yourself, and I think that’s been a terrific quality to have,’’ Matt said.

“This is the best job, it really is, and I’m really going to miss it,’’ Meredith tearfully said.

A special sendoff episode is planned for Meredith on Wednesday.

“We’ve got a great show planned,’’ Matt said. “You will not want to miss it.’’

allDAY: 10 reasons we love Meredith

While Matt hinted at some surprises on Wednesday’s show and joked that Meredith might want to wear a rubber suit, Meredith was already flashing her trademark sarcasm two days in advance of her final broadcast when discussing Matt on “Late Show With David Letterman’’ on Monday night.

“How long has Matt been there?’’ Letterman asked her.

Image: "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer talks about his favorite "meredith" moments on the "Today" show
Peter Kramer  /  NBC
“This is the best job, it really is, and I’m really going to miss it,’’ Meredith said on TODAY Tuesday. A special sendoff episode is planned for her on Wednesday.

“Too long. Really too long. It’s been a … it’s bad. Talk about — the deal has dried up,’’ she responded to laughter by the audience.

allDAY: Meredith teases Matt, talks final show on ‘Letterman’

She quickly backed that up with, “I don’t mean it that way! Matt’s great.’’

Although Meredith will say farewell to TODAY on Wednesday, she won’t be saying goodbye to NBC News. Her new role with the organization will be officially announced in the coming months.

Slideshow: Ann Curry’s distinguished career at NBC News (on this page)

Meanwhile, Meredith leaves TODAY in good hands. Ann Curry will take her place as co-anchor alongside Matt Lauer. TODAY’s current third hour co-host, Natalie Morales, will replace Ann as news anchor, and NBC News White House correspondent and msnbc anchor Savannah Guthrie will be co-host of the third hour of TODAY.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Photos: The many sides of Meredith

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  1. Meredith Vieira, a TODAY co-anchor from 2006 to 2011, rejoined TODAY for a morning after the broadcast teased that a "legend will return." After she hung out for a bit with Linny on the plaza, she revealed she'd play a part in TODAY's 2012 London Olympics coverage. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Meredith was named a special correspondent on "Rock Center with Brian Williams." She debuted with a story about Mimi Alford, a woman who said she had an affair with President John F. Kennedy while serving as a White House intern in 1962. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Meredith stopped by Kathie Lee and Hoda's hour of TODAY Feb. 2 to chat about what she's been up to since leaving the broadcast. After the fourth-hour gals congratulated her on her success, Meredith joked they must be "drunk." (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Meredith stands with Deborah Norville, far left, Katie Couric, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Ann Curry and Natalie Morales during TODAY's special 60th anniversary show Jan. 13. (Peter Kramer / Peter Kramer/NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. After nearly five years as co-anchor of TODAY alongside Matt Lauer, Meredith took leave of the show on June 8, 2011. Ann Curry took her place as co-anchor of America's No. 1 morning show. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. In an emotional farewell on Rockefeller Plaza June 8, 2011, Meredith received heartfelt tributes and good wishes from Al Roker, Matt and Ann. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. On June 8, 2011, her last day as a TODAY anchor, Meredith received a rousing musical tribute from the show's entire family, as well as late-night host Jimmy Fallon (with guitar), on Rockefeller Plaza. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Meredith has been the host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" since 2002, and that same year she hosted the "Super Soap Special Edition" of the show (pictured). Here, she talks with the contestant and Eva LaRue and John Callahan from "All My Children." (Matt Stroshane / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Meredith served as a co-editor of CBS’s “60 Minutes” from 1989 to 1991. Here, past and present correspondents of the program join Don Hewitt, the executive producer, lower left, on stage for a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards held in New York on Sept. 3, 2003. From left to right, at rear, Christiane Amanpour, Diane Sawyer, Steve Kroft, Meredith Vieira, and executive editor Philip Scheffler. Middle row, Bob Simon, Lesley Stahl, Ed Bradley, Morley Safer and Andy Rooney. (Stuart Ramson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Meredith has been honored with eight Emmy awards, including a Daytime Emmy for best morning newscast for her work on TODAY. She earned five Emmys during her 10-year tenure at CBS News, and picked up two Daytime Emmys as outstanding game show host for her work on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” (Scott Gries / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Meredith joined ABC’s “The View” as one of its original moderators in 1997. She left the show in June 2006 and joined TODAY in September of that year. Here she bids goodbye during her farewell show, as her co-host Barbara Walters looks on. (Steve Fenn / ABC via AP file) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Meredith and her husband, Richard Cohen, who has battled multiple sclerosis and colon cancer, steal a kiss at a New York news conference in 2006. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Bronx resident Linny Boyette is one of TODAY’s biggest fans, appearing on Rockefeller Plaza every morning during the show’s broadcast. Here Meredith poses outside the NBC studio with Linny on her first day at TODAY, Sept. 13, 2006. (Jason Decrow / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. For TODAY’s annual Halloween extravaganza, Meredith has transformed into Princess Leia, Pinocchio, Lily from “The Munsters,” and most recently, Lady Gaga. In 2006, she arrived to the set on a clamshell, dressed as a mermaid. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. During her TODAY tenure, Meredith conducted numerous newsmaker interviews, from chimp attack victim Charla Nash to singing sensation Susan Boyle. On Dec. 18, 2006, her interview with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton aired. During the interview, Clinton offered the broadest indication yet that she was close to a decision on whether to enter the 2008 Democratic presidential field. (Virginia Sherwood / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Actor Will Ferrell took Meredith for a spin on the Rockefeller Center ice rink during his show appearance on March 27, 2007, just before the opening of his comedy film “Blades of Glory.” He attempted to show Meredith a stunt, but instead the good sport fell on her back and hit her head, exclaiming, "Ow, that hurt!" (Richard Drew / ap) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. On April 19, 2007, Meredith and Matt reported on a video manifesto and photos sent to NBC from Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho, shown on a studio monitor at left. NBC said the package contained a rambling and often incoherent 23-page written statement, 28 video clips and 43 photos. Gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many others before committing suicide during the Virginia Tech attacks on April 16, 2007. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Author J.K. Rowling reads to fans in Edinburgh, Scotland, from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" during Meredith’s July 2007 interview. This was Rowling’s only television interview about her final Harry Potter volume. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. On Feb. 21, 2008, TODAY broadcast live from Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort. The always-intrepid Meredith took the Penguin Plunge into the freezing waters of Lake Champlain to benefit Special Olympics Vermont. (She probably did not opt for the double-dip.) (Toby Talbot / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Meredith will be the first to admit that she’s useless in the kitchen, but in November 2009, she bravely battled consummate hostess Martha Stewart in a heated holiday apple-pie bake-off. Even though Meredith shamelessly admitted to using a pre-made crust, we give her points for panache. (NBC ) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Viewers saw Meredith’s compassion as a journalist in her coverage of events like the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. In July 2009, Meredith and TODAY team broadcast live from the Michael Jackson Memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Trae Patton / NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Always game to try something new, Meredith shares a laugh with the Paralympic curling team during the 100 Days to Vancouver celebration on Nov. 4, 2009, at Rockefeller Center. Meredith, Matt, Al, Ann and Natalie all traveled to Vancouver in February 2010 to broadcast live from the XXI Olympic Winter Games. (Mike Stobe / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and Meredith go way back: During the Vancouver Games, the skater and “Dancing With the Stars” champ gave Meredith some skating tips, and showed her how to dance the tango. Eight months after the Games, Ohno sat down with Meredith to chat about his new book, “Zero Regrets,” and his journey to becoming a record-breaking athlete. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Jasper, Meredith’s dog and jogging partner, has appeared on the show several times alongside the anchor. Always the loyal companion, here Jasper participates in a segment about canine learning abilities and vocabulary recognition. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. On Aug. 20, 2010, Meredith and actress and cancer survivor Maura Tierney threw the first pitch at Fenway Park before the Boston Red Sox game against the Toronto Blue Jays in support of the Jimmy Fund, which supports adult and pediatric cancer care and research. Meredith’s husband, Richard Cohen, has survived two bouts with colon cancer. (Gail Oskin / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. For Halloween 2010, Meredith channeled her diva spirit and took the stage as Lady Gaga, working it to “Bad Romance” – with blond locks, bold outfit and back-up dancers to boot. (Jonathan D. Woods / Today.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. There’s no denying that Meredith has a way with the fellas, including cheeky actor Russell Brand. Anchor and actor have had a couple of innocent, flirtatious exchanges during Brand’s visits to the TODAY set. (Peter Kramer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. One of Meredith’s most recent newsmaker interviews was her sit-down with Donald Trump. In the wide-ranging interview that aired April 7, 2011, Trump spoke pointedly about Obama's presidency, foreign affairs, and the possibility of running for president. "Right now, I have some real doubts" about Obama’s citizenship, he told Meredith. (Kelly Conaty / NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. In her nearly five years at TODAY, Meredith covered several major news stories, from the 2008 presidential election to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Along with Ann, Matt and Natalie, Meredith reported live from London for the widely-watched nuptials. (Mark Allan / NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Today - 2012
    Above: Slideshow (29) The many sides of Meredith
  2. Today - Season 2012
    Lisa Berg / NBC
    Slideshow (30) Ann Curry’s distinguished career at NBC News


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