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.’’
TODAY says farewell to Meredith
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. ...
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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.
“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.
“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.
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