Tag Archives: national morning news programs

News groupie

It’s been made official. Meredith Vieira is leaving the Today show. I know, I know. I’ve said here more than once that I would no longer be watching Today. Ridiculous stories, misspelled captions, grammatical mistakes by Weekend Today anchors, and a few by Meredith during the week. Too many stories about people with screwdrivers in their skulls or animals with special talents. It really has gotten unbearable—almost.

The closest I'll ever get to snuggling up to Matt Lauer

There’s one major reason I still watch:  Matt Lauer. I love Matt Lauer. He’s a talented journalist and a skilled anchor who displays an appropriate mix of seriousness and humor on camera. He isn’t afraid of asking the tough questions and does his best with what he has to work with.

In one-on-one interviews, Matt Lauer shows he can relate to just about anyone, showing not only that he has done his homework, but that he has keen insights into what makes people tick. Whether he’s interviewing the President of the United States or a seasoned rocker (I loved his recent  interview with Steven Tyler, by the way), we walk away better knowing the interviewee. And I hope it’s safe to say, I’ve got a little crush.

And, because his assets far outweigh the show’s liabilities, I continue to watch. Plus, I have the power of the remote. When an animal or a screwdriver-through-the-head story comes on, I have the power to mute or to switch.

I’ve never been a Meredith fan, so I didn’t choke up when she made her tearful announcement this morning. I never got the sense there was much chemistry there during the last five years anyway.

Ann Curry, another talented and serious newsperson, will be sliding over into Meredith’s chair.

Even though the team of news directors and producers and writers will probably remain the same, I have a feeling that, come June, I might be doing a little less muting and switching.

Yet, I’ll say right now that, wherever in the world Matt goes, I’ll follow. I hope he never leaves. It just doesn’t get any better than beginning a work day with Matt Lauer and ending it with Brian Williams. If only I could do that in person.

4 Comments

Filed under Movies, Television and Radio, News

Tale of two cities

This is a tale of two movies.

Last weekend, like many Washingtonians, I rushed to see Fair Game, the tale of an investigation into the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which, through a series of political and media responses, led to the outing of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. International intrigue. Political power plays. Criminal charges against a White House official. It’s a true story set in the nation’s capital and cities around the world.

Washingtonians like movies set in our back yard. We are eager to see if the movie-makers got it right—the geography, the photography, the historiography.

 I wonder whether, in other cities, Fair Game is getting as much love at the box office as, oh, I don’t know, anything else.

Saturday night, I arrived at the theater 35 minutes before show time to find the movie already sold out. I envied my fellow wonks who would be nestled comfortably in their stadium seats, taking in the talent of Sean Penn in the role of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, Plame’s husband, who played a pivotal role in this historic real-life drama. I immediately got tickets for Sunday.

In the meantime, though, I was already in a movie mood. So I drove to my local shopping mall and saw Morning Glory, about a fictitious national morning news show. I’ve always thought it would be fun to work in broadcast news so, for me, this movie was a fantasy. Obviously, it takes place in New York, a city I love but know only as an outsider. A fantasy story taking place in a fantasy city.

For this reason, I didn’t concern myself with believability or accuracy or geography for that matter. I didn’t wonder if a taxi transporting a character six blocks can drive from Point A to Point B without crossing three boroughs, or whether or not a station can deviate from its scheduled programming to air a live feed from an hour away on three seconds’ notice. It’s fantasy; I don’t care.

So Morning Glory was amusing and entertaining—because all I had to do was sit back, get an artificial glimpse into the TV news business and munch popcorn. And try not to wonder whether the message was a lampoon or defense of what network morning programs have become.

Sunday it was back to Washington and back to reality with Fair Game. I found the movie to be very well done, the acting superb. There was one little geographic inaccuracy.

Joe Wilson hopped in a cab and asked to be taken to The Palisades. Before long, an overly chatty cab driver got on Wilson’s nerves and Wilson asked the driver to pull over. “I’ll walk,” he said. As he got out of the cab, we see that he is at the U.S. Capitol–seven miles from The Palisades.

It wasn’t fun to relive such an unfortunate event in U.S. history and I left feeling uncomfortable. But at least it was about something real. Two thumbs up.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies, Television and Radio, News, Politics