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Meredith Vieira Says Goodbye After Five Years of Today

The Today show is now officially yesterday's news for Meredith Vieira.
/ Source: E!online

The Today show is now officially yesterday's news for Meredith Vieira.

After five years cohosting the NBC morning show alongside Matt Lauer, Vieira delivered her last round of news this morning, in an emotional (and potentially viral) send-off that paid tribute to her half-decade on the show.

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"It's a hard one," she said at the top of the show, which, despite being quite Vieira-heavy also managed to sprinkle in some actual news over the course of the first three hours. "Very mixed emotions. I know it's right, but it's hard."

Joined by her husband Richard Cohen and the family dog Jasper, the whole Today show crew rallied together to say goodbye to Vieira, paying tribute to her throughout the morning with retrospective clips and a fair share of surprises.

First up, a surprise performance by Carole King, who sang one of Vieira's favorite songs, "You've Got a Friend."

"I don't know what to say," an already emotional Vieira said.

Thankfully, Lauer, Al Roker, Ann Curry, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Natalie Morales and the rest of the faces of Today did.

"It's been a privilege working with you over these past five years. I know the folks at home have enjoyed starting their day with you as well," Lauer said, ramping up to the biggest surprise of the morning--a technically and creatively impressive, continuously shot group lip-sync, in which every single member of on- and off-air talent wore I [Heart] Meredith T-shirts and serenaded her with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

Guiding her through the Today studios, up to the offices, through the control room and finally out to the plaza, where an audience of hundreds was waiting to join in the song. Surprising her along the way was Abe Vigoda and Jimmy Fallon.

Needless to say, she was full of emotion throughout the massive effort, tearing up throughout the song, and proving her earlier point that what she'll miss most about the show is "the sense of family."

Before she signed off for good, she was treated to one final dose of sentiment.

Sitting out on the Plaza with Matt, Ann and Al, the trio one by one paid personal tribute to her.

"I kept coming up with jokes and sarcasm," Lauer told her, explaining his process of trying to think of what to say. "I realized it's because I'm afraid that if I really tell you how I feel, I'm going to turn into a blubbering idiot. But it's your last day, so a little blubbering.

"I adore you, and I have since the night we had dinner five and a half years ago. Your talent and your warmth and your generosity...your sense of humor I will remember most, you made me laugh every single day here, and I thank you for that. But the bottom line is this: I have marveled over the fact that someone who has talent as prodigious as yours, how small your ego is. You've taught us all how to be great teammates, and that's the gift that I'll take away from you. Thank you so much.

"I don't want to go now," Meredith laughed (and cried). "[But] I went upstairs and they changed the lock on my dressing room.

"Life is about changing. I love you all, you are the best bar none, it's such a family and it's really hard to leave a family, so I'm not going to say goodbye, at all...All of you I'm putting in my heart so I'll never ever lose you. I love you so much."

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