(By Eric Jackson, TODAY Researcher)
Working as the overnight researcher has its perks. Don't let the unusual hours (I get in at 9pm), and near-empty office (it's just me and the overnight senior producer, Steve) fool you. I have a lot of stories from the overnight, but let me share just one. This one is called ... Milkshakes and Meredith.
We have this tradition on the overnight, where every Thursday night, we order milkshakes. It's our way of saying -- this was a busy week, but we made it. Let's celebrate with a milkshake. I always get the vanilla.
Over the summer, before Meredith Vieira officially started on TODAY, she decided that she wanted to see what happened at night in the office, when much of the staff has already gone home. So Meredith and her assistant, Amanda, stopped by for a visit. It was milkshake night.
This was really the first time I was meeting Meredith. We had met briefly when she was first officially announced as the new TODAY co-anchor, and we had a big "Welcome, Meredith" toast with the whole staff in Studio 1A. But this was the first time we were sitting down and having a casual conversation. I was a little nervous, because I wasn't sure quite what to say at first. So all I could get out was something like, "It's really nice to meet you."
But Meredith had the classic response, said with a smile: "Don't lie. I know you're only here for the milkshake."
I like to share that story with family and friends a lot ... and now you ... because I think it shows how much fun she is. Who knew that something as simple as a milkshake could be such a conversation starter?
Anyway, since then, there have been many conversations with Meredith. Every morning, in fact ... when myself and one of our producers, Dan, check in with her and Matt to run through the show, see if they need any research pulled, etc. On one recent morning, we were talking about the overnight with Meredith, and I mentioned how there's a unique vibe to it, that few people know about.
To which Meredith responded -- "I know about it. I was there for milkshake night."
Tonight, by the way, happens to be milkshake night.