Inside the new "Today" (Ryan Osborn, associate producer, "Today")
• September 13, 2006 | 9:54 a.m.Applause in the control room as show ends. So what's on tomorrow? Kidding (but not really). Staff starts gathering for champagne.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:51 a.m.
Music video wraps up morning. Who doesn't love these? Amazing someone crashed this together during the show. Very cool.
I think the term is earworm when you just can't get a song out of your head. "It's a New Day" is definitely one of those songs.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:51 a.m.
Ann says, "That does it for a very significant day." Natalie: "Have a great day on this new day."
• September 13, 2006 | 9:49 a.m.
Senior Producer Tom Mazzarelli tells Senior Broadcast Producer Don Nash, "We gotta close." Meaning the show is almost over.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:45 a.m.
The all important call to mom from several producers in the control room. Love hearing the one side of the phone..."Hey Mom..." And then you can tell that mom shares her thoughts about what worked and what didn't about the show. Parents of TV producers must feel like executive producers in a way. These opinions could be the most important of all.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:43 a.m.
Just visited the PA booth here in control room. Zoe Marcus, Candace Kuo and Lee Miller were actually too busy still dealing with scripts to talk. One good thing is that they used to have to run up a spiral staircase which, with the new studio, is gone.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:41 a.m.
Another viewer e-mail. Rhonda writes: "The new set is 'zen' like ..." I think that is a compliment. So thanks.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:35 a.m.
Meredith does more press ... look for her on Access Hollywood and AP TV tonight. Lots of photographers (on the plaza).
• September 13, 2006 | 9:30 a.m.
Who knew Natalie had the Black Eyed Peas on her iPod? They will be in concert this Friday with special performance from Fergie. More from the concert series.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:22 a.m.
So into the viewer mail ... a lot of positive feedback and welcomes and while you might think this blog is just another PR tool wanted to share some critical ones. Steve in Miami didn't like the graphics: "Too much junk in the graphics. It is not necessary to fill every single inch of the screen with dancing stuff. It's distracting from the people."
A nice e-mail. There are a lot of these and I just couldn't resist: "I could tell within the first minute of the show that Matt and Meredith are going to make a good team. They have such great chemistry. Matt's face just lights up when he's talking to Meredith. Great team!!!" — Cathy
• September 13, 2006 | 9:20 a.m. Meredith still out on the plaza. She was thanking the crowd for coming. It was cool. She got the formal introduction to Linny and Manny. And it went really well. They are real characters and while Matt said Gene and Willard are the litmus test those two are my litmus test.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:13 a.m.
Just heard a funny variation of our promo campaign called, "It's a New Day" ... our IT person Jason Kost said, "It's a Busy Day." Trying to work on getting those viewer e-mails.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:10 a.m.
One funny thing that I notice and it is obviously just not in TV but producers and talent are both such creatures of habit. Even just simple things like what networks and what cable channels should be on what monitors in the control room is a real process. Would love to share who wants to watch what but it is actually not that exciting.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:08 a.m.
So more talk about the production of new set. The corner that I am sitting is really loud but I see our director, Joe, using his hands (nothing obscene) talking about what can be done for tomorrow.
• September 13, 2006 | 9:06 a.m.
Some people out in the crowd from Rhode Island. Interesting that both Matt and Meredith both share memories of that state. I mean if you live there would you watch any other morning show?
• September 13, 2006 | 9:00 a.m.
So Meredith is done for the morning. She has press and extracurriculars that come with a day like today. Did I say how many people are here? There is a champagne toast with the staff at 10:00.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:59 a.m.
Into the 9:00 ... our overnight and early morning team, Eric Jackson and Dan Fleschner: "First two hours went by so quickly."
• September 13, 2006 | 8:55 a.m.
Visit from our new graphics PA Matt Greenfield, who says the one thing we screwed up was Willard's birthdays. Show looks great.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:51 a.m.
Meredith puts wedding cake on Matt's nose. Can resist the metaphor of today being the first day of a marriage. As Matt says, "Revenge is a dish best served cold."
• September 13, 2006 | 8:49 a.m.
Wish you could hear our director, Joe Michaels. Always fun and I think for most people who have worked here long enough can be watching the show from home and still hear his voice and laugh.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:47 a.m.
On a totally other note, did you see Tucker on "Dancing with the Stars"? This blog would like to go on the record as offering our support to him. More on Tucker's dance moves.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:45 a.m.
So one of my favorite rituals of the morning is reading viewer e-mail but for some reason the computer that I am on in the control room does not have access. Hope to bring you some later.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:39 a.m.
A lot of talk about the chairs in the new control room. They are really comfortable. Some people might be wheeling them back to their desks across the street today.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:37 a.m.
So one thing that I haven't mentioned, and wish I had a picture of, is the layout of our control room. We have a segment coming up that I think will show it but, as he joked earlier, our EP (Executive Producer) Jim Bell is like Captain Kirk in a chair in the middle.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:35 a.m.
Lauren Kapp and Allison Gollust (our PR team) watch their BlackBerries. I got an exclusive sneak peek and it looks like they'll have a busy day, more like week, more like year ahead of them.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:33 a.m.
Meredith meets Willard and Gene. A little advice and a couple of jokes. I've never met Gene. Cool to see him here live.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:27 a.m.
Another quote from Phil ... whatever accolades producer Yael gets for her spot about Meredith it is not enough. Spoken like a true life long Mets fan ... "that spot was the equivalent of David Wright hitting a walk off grand slam at the World Series ... really unbelievable."
• September 13, 2006 | 8:23 a.m.
Meredith helps Matt say good-bye to one of the wedding couples. Honestly, does it get any harder than doing something like that on live TV?
• September 13, 2006 | 8:19 a.m.
So wish that I had some crazy stories to tell about the control room but so far just a lot of smiles. If there was nervous energy from before, it seems to have faded. This show just keeps rolling.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:14 a.m.
"Today Transformed": A look at our new studio all together. A spot cut by producer Robin Sindler. Always cool to see the days of Dave Garroway and think how far we've come. Al, who knows a ton about technology, walks us through the process. Last time we renovated it took over a year, this year it took 3 months. Set designer Jeremy Conway talks a little about what went in to the design.
• September 13, 2006 | 8:09 a.m."Big Al" and Meredith together on the plaza. Earlier in the show there was a great moment when Meredith told Al she had a hamster named, "Al."
• September 13, 2006 | 8:05 a.m.Meredith goes outside and meets the crowd for the first time. Very cool shot of all of them walking out of new studio all the way to plaza. Like a shot out of a Scorcese film. Crowd holding pictures of Meredith. Will she meet Linny and Manny, our crowd regulars? Linny talked to the New York Times and seemed a little skeptical a while back ... Stay tuned.
• September 13, 2006 | 7:59 a.m.
The promotional machine keeps rolling ... "One of the greatest things I saw all morning was the 150-foot banner flying up and down the Hudson River" says V.P. Frank Radice. He is talking about a banner that welcomes Meredith to the family flying behind an airplane today.
Then came a surprise live shot from the Lincoln School in Providence, R.I. We all learned Meredith was in charge of the Chapel committee in school. A great story about Meredith tap dancing before the entire school. Students give an applause and welcome.
• September 13, 2006 | 7:52 a.m.
Another surprise ... as Matt introduced him, "One guy who made a pretty good transition ..." Brian Williams just brought Meredith flowers. As he handed them to her said, "They're a little wet." Funny.
Guest appearance from senior producer, Noah Oppenheim. He told me he's got nothing to say, but actually has a lot to say about being the first person to spill coffee all over the electronic equipment in our new control. The good news is we're still on air.
• September 13, 2006 | 7:43 a.m.
Phil Griffin, executive in charge of the show, just overheard saying, "I couldn't be happier. She looks great. Set looks great!" to Steve Capus, President of NBC News.
Lots of executives (very expensive suits) and Meredith's agent smiling in the control room. Again so many people's hard work from across the network went into this day and it is cool to see everyone talking about it. Ideas actually becoming reality.
So are you watching in HDTV? I don't have an HDTV set, but might have to get one. Today is the first day we are broadcasting in it. To my untrained eye, it looks like everything is going well and there are no technical glitches (hoping not to jinx it). Sure, there is some technical production person who is sweating bullets.
• September 13, 2006 | 7:40 a.m.
A really beautiful spot cut by Yael Federbush just aired. Meredith definitely was the kind of the girl everyone had a crush on in high school. Some great music throughout the spot that Meredith was dancing to on set. Very cool to see her family. Matt returns the favor of surprises and has some pretty racey pictures of Meredith. No longer Meredith Vieira ... should we call her Tutu LaRue?
• September 13, 2006 | 7:22 a.m.
So we just got out of Meredith's first half hour on the show. Their was applause in the control room as Meredith lead to commercial for the first time by saying, "This is TODAY on NBC." (Even though she slightly flubbed it! Ha! Ha!) Very exciting ... this morning is the result of a lot of people's hard work. We will keep you posted right here all morning ...
• September 13, 2006 | 7:18 a.m.
Meredith just surprised Matt with his picture from People magazine of him with his shirt off. Showed the video of the President asking Matt to autograph it.
• September 13, 2006 | 7:12 a.m.
Meredith greets our Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert to our new set. Cool to see them together.
• September 13, 2006 | 6:59 a.m.
It feels like the first day of school around here. A lot of excited people at 30 Rock this morning. New control room, new set; as the saying goes, "It's a new day."