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Someone suggested the show go to a 1 hour format, because that would be
plenty of time to get what they wanted in. Well, how about going to a
15 minute format. That's about how much substance there is on any given
Even the weather primarily consists of Al Roker joking around on the plaza. I actually like him, but they should stop the charade that he's giving a forecast and just say "Here's Al Roker, who is going to schmooze a bit on the plaza and then unhelpfully gesture toward a map the United States and mention that in some part of the country it will rain. Or not rain."
I have fond childhood memories of the Dave Garroway "Today" show from
the early to mid-50's. I watched it every morning as I was preparing
for school. I enjoyed seeing all those people in New York City standing
in the street looking in the window as they were being shot live by the
"Today" cameras. Members of the crowd held up signs with such homilies
as hello, Mom, or Bruce, or folks back home, or whoever was watching
their first appearance on national TV. Whenever the camera panned them,
they would do crazy things such as distorting their faces, jumping up
and down, screeching, winking an eye, and incessantly waving as if they
had just landed on the moon.
The early "Today" show centered on the eccentric personality of Dave Garroway, who became almost a cult figure to some of his viewers. His signature trademark was to hold his right hand up at the end of the program and softly proclaim, "Peace." This tall, bespectacled host was certainly different than others of his ilk. He tended to be moody yet conversational while drinking a cup of coffee. Dave's nemesis was the so-called co-host J. Fred Muggs, a spoiled and pampered chimp. Obvious to viewers was the enmity Dave felt toward the chimp. Also obvious: the feeling was mutual. Dave and the chimp pretended that it was all in fun. One reason for this pretense was the popularity of the chimp over Dave. Dave let the chimp make a monkey of him because it kept the ratings up.
Almost as popular as Dave and the chimp were the other members of the "Today" morning team. Jack Lescoulie gave the sports, served as reporter, and participated in the hijinks with J. Fred and Dave from time to time. He was a colorful character with a gift of gab who did his job well. He would sit in for Dave when needed. The news anchor, Frank Blair, was the most laid back of the "Today" staff. He was droll in his humor but Like Jack Lescoulie often participated in the fun and games. As I recall he also gave the weather.
Dave was gifted in several ways. His intellect enabled him to communicate his ideas and feelings with ease yet in a way that seemed informal and genuine. He conducted many of the best interviews of early television. He had an innate sense of what world work and what wouldn't work on early morning television when choosing guests and topics. Because of his tortured personal life, the gifts he possessed sadly began to wane till he was dropped by NBC and drifted into oblivion.
As you can imagine my opportunities for watching are limited to my all
too infrequent trips to the US. But I did for one hectic week actually
help produce this show, albeit in a very minor capacity. Apart from
Wimbledon coverage for HBO this was my first real experience working
for American TV, and it was quite an eye opener. In July 1989 the
French 'celebrated' their bicentennial of their revolution, and while
pretty much every British broadcaster ignored it, the 'Yanks' came over
Presumably the language barrier was thought to be too great for the French to overcome and so NBC hired a British truck, (bizarrely, staffed by Swedish technicians) and hired British operators and engineers of whom I was one. The shoot was on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre Dame. Just a few yards down from us were ABC with their Good Morning America show, similarly equipped, and fortunately quite friendly as we had to borrow some lighting equipment from them! This was the swansong of Jane Pauley who turned out to be a real lady. Sadly she was about to be stiffed by NBC she was soon to be replaced by a younger, blonder presenter (who guested during the week with us) Shame, as Pauley was a hit with the audience, us, and the many, many, passers by who she treated with respect and courtesy. Bryant Gumbel in contrast, hid what charm he had under a steely, cold exterior, and left me at least in no doubt who was in charge of that particular production.
We also had the pleasure of the company of Willard Scott, who turned out to be a laugh a minute and defused many a tense situation with his easy going humour. Scott has even less hair than I and confused the hell out of me when I saw him later on that year in the studio, with apparently flowing locks. It was only after watching for a few days I realised that he was expected to wear a hairpiece in the studio, but excused the wig, in the blustery conditions of outside work! The real star for me was the director. He's not credited here, but is elsewhere on the IMDb, but forgive me for not naming him. Those in the business will have heard of the $500K+ a year he was making then, and know who I mean. In contrast to the almost fawningly polite style of British Television (I still remember being told on my BBC induction course in the 1970's that we were expected to hold open the doors as we walked around Television Centre, for other members of staff) Americans were direct, and utterly ruthless. One mistake and you were bawled out, two and you were cut, no argument. Remarkable then that I survived the full week although I did learn one or two new swear words. Credit though, when the show was over he walked to every person on that crew and thanked them by name - something a few British directors could learn. I still have a tape we recorded of the show with the his tailback on an extra audio track - and it still makes me blush! The British claim to have invented TV, and well we might, but the Americans have largely perfected it - and they're at their best in this genre of live News and Features. The slick one-two presenter style with throws to specialist sports/weather/news headlines presenters is now adopted by all of our domestic channels, and we know what imitation is
I actually love the Today show...but I hardly ever watch it since they are constantly rushing through segments..its uncomfortable to watch Natalie and Matt along with the others rush through each story or segment..I feel yucky watching it and i know the guests do too...I would much prefer to have less stories or highlights rather than everyone feeling stressed and rushing..the Today show staff look like they aren't listening and are merely trying to get through their bit as quick ad possible..its awkward for all and I think i speak for everyone when I say.. its embarrassing for the guests and the hosts..I cringe whenever i see it happen which is often..please stop that..
I'm not sure where you got your data about cast members, but someone needs to check it with NBC. Dave Garroway, the original host of Today, appeared on at least 2000 episodes during the first nine years of the run -- 5 days a week for at least 48 weeks a year for nine years -- but you credited him with 3 episodes. Jack Lesculie was an everyday regular on the show for at least 3 years in the beginning. To credit these men with fewer appearances than J. Fred Muggs, a chimpanzee who appeared on the show during that era, is an insult to their memory -- particularly since Muggs was biting them all the time! In those days, the program was live, so the human performers had to be careful how they reacted. Seriously, this was one of the most important programs in the early days of television, thanks largely to the work of Garroway, Pat Weaver and newscaster Frank Blair. It trained people to get up in the mornings and turn on their sets -- a habit we've continued to practice for more than half a century!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One thing anyone can count on in my house, first thing in the morning.
The TV will be tuned to local Channel 2 for the Today Show. It has been
around for over 50 years now, the cast has changed many times, but NBC
always manages to find replacements that are better than the original
when someone leaves. The show is always timely, interesting, and
informative. The best show of its kind.
Right now the four regulars are led by Katie Couric, the bubbly, miniature lady who used to be a cheerleader and whose secret passion is singing. One year when each regular was featured doing their secret interest, Katie actually did a duet with Tony Bennett and wasn't bad. My only complaint with Katie -- she is one of the worst interviewers I have seen. She will ask a question then, instead of just waiting to see what response she will get, goes further and 'contaminates' the question with suggested answers. Drives me crazy!!
Her sidekick is Matt Lauer, the most professional of the group. He is usually the straight man, but he has a sly sense of humor also. Matt's passion project was becoming a jockey for a day.
Al Roker does the weather, and is a do it all member of the team. Al has probably the best personality of all of them, in that he always seems genuine and is smart and funny. He made big news last year when he lost very much weight and became virtually half a man.
The most recent addition is Ann Curry who seems less confident, but actually is better than Katie as a reporter and interviewer. She complements the team very well.
I have to admit it that I don't watch the Today show. I prefer the Imus show on MSNBC because I feel like it's real, candid, and authentic with great guests. I have stopped watching morning shows like Today because I can't stand the pretentious and falseness. Everybody appears a little too happy for me especially in the morning if you are not a morning person like myself. I am happy for Meredith Viera because she probably felt like she was saving from the Titanic or the The View as it's called so she seems so much happier now. but for NBC to ditch daytime soaps like Passions and Another World is ridiculous. The Today Show is becoming more and more like cable television. We don't need four hours of the Today Show. We do need shows like Passions though. It's a well-known fact that NBC has wanted to ditch the soaps for a long time. The only problem now is Days of Our Lives which has a strong fan base that will do anything to keep it on the air. Anyway, NBC is going in the toilet faster than the View. remember when there was Saturday morning cartoons for kids and television programming for teens with shows like Saved by the Bell. Sorry, the Today Show for 2 hours is too much and four is just awful.
This show is really good. I like the people on it. Al Roker is the funnyest person. I also love the way they do their news. It is a live show on everyday at 7:00-9:00am on NBC. On weekends their is differnt people people on it. Good for Anyone to watch.
Today's "Today" most likely holds the most dedicated journalists in any news media program. They can be these intense people delivering a striking news story and then turn around and be one of us. I can not help but be in awe at the dedication and I hold them in high esteem. That is why, Katie and Matt, Al and Ann, will always be the first on my TV.
Three hours of "Today" is just too much! One hour would cover the current events and maybe some cooking too. All of the celebrity interviews and such are just tiring to watch. The celebs look worn out too cause it's so early in the morning. Also, please move Al and Anne to the head of the class. They are classy and very appealing and should be heading up this show.
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