When Meredith Vieira announced she was getting her own talk show, critics were confused. Fellow Today Show alum, Katie Couric, had just done the same thing two years ago, yet her pet project was floundering in the ratings.
Many found fault with the former CBS Evening News anchor as a daytime talk show host, who favored 60 Minutes-type segments over Hollywood fluff pieces. “She has a complete and utter disdain for the audience she needs to appeal to,” a former Katie employee once told The Hollywood Reporter.
After just two seasons, Katie was canceled, airing it's final show on July 30 of this year. Will Meredith's venture head down a similar path? We compare her debut episode with Katie's in an effort to find out!
Katie: Jessica Simpson talked motherhood and weight loss while Sheryl Crow also opened up about her kids and turning 50.
Meredith: Jennifer Lopez chatted about motherhood and her career while surprise guest Hoda Kotb joined the duo for car karaoke.
Conclusion: Both ladies did their best to humanize their celebrity guests, focusing on topics a majority of women in their 30s and 40s can relate to.
Katie: The then 55-year-old kept the show breezy and carefree, beginning with a pre-taped skit featuring former Today Show colleague, Matt Lauer.
Meredith: The 60-year-old "dressed down" in jeans and a blazer on her living room-esque set, telling stories about husband Richard and their three kids.
Conclusion: Both attempted to rid themselves of that "serious" persona associated with them thanks to their days anchoring news programs. As we've since seen with Katie, she couldn't quite shake those hard-hitting journalism roots.
Katie: Opening with a record-breaking 1.6 rating among women 25-54, Katie received mixed reviews off the bat, with critics throwing around words such as "lackluster," "likable," "cheesy" and "cheery."
Meredith: Opening with a .06 rating in the target demographic, Meredith's debut was okay. The newbie also received mixed reviews with one critic calling it an "Embarrassing Mom Hour" thanks to that car-aoke and a game called "Touchy Feely" (audience members try to identify objects while blindfolded).
Conclusion: Not a good sign for Meredith. It's understandable why viewers were hesitant to check it out given her predecessor's disappointing run, but if the former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host can't distance herself from the Katie sigma, we're confident she'll meet a similar fate.
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