In Defense of The Today Show

todayshowheaderWell, well. Look at me, all topical and timely like a real journalist. I’m so proud of myself. Bloggers just grow up so fast, you know?

This week, I am looking at The Today Show. You know all the recent news, so I’ll avoid reviewing everything. But, since I am wearing my boring journalist hat this week, I’m obligated to repeat everything ad nauseam. Ahem… Ann Curry was recently replaced by 3rd hour host Savannah Guthrie… and I’m bored. Funny picture time!

That 3rd hour was pretty rough. Kissing uninterested puppets is hard work.

That 3rd hour was pretty rough. Kissing uninterested puppets is hard work.

There were a few other replacement possibilities, but none of them could compare to the vanilla beauty named for the capital of Southern sensibilities. Poor Natalie Morales, if only you had a better name. Hoda Kotb… you just never stood a chance.

hoda1

Seen here covering the breaking story of… creepy handbags? What the hell is that?

To be fair, Guthrie will be a fine anchor. Unlike myself, she is a credible journalist with a law degree and years of non-snarky experience. No matter what she does, she is more bearable than the massive egos of the Today Show men.

So... much... smug... must punch...

So… much… smug… must punch…

I will not expound any further on my opinion of the program or the recent cast change. I have no qualms with Ann Curry, nor any substantive praise. However, with all the recent attention they are getting, a nagging question comes to mind. Is The Today Show still credible?

In the mid-80’s, Today was unchallenged. Even after Good Morning America came to the scene, it was still a powerhouse to be reckoned with. In 1995, Today retook the Nielsen throne until April 2012. For those of you counting, that is 5,112 programs of reliable money-making ad revenue in a row. Also, if you were counting, please stop. You have a problem.

So Today is a money maker. It was also ranked as the 17th best show ever in a 2002 TV Guide analysis. Even though that particular magazine is a modern joke, it is still an impressive achievement. Normally I would question whether or not my subject is worthy of defense, but this week that inquiry is moot.

So why would I choose it? Well, the modern morning news shows have a problem. See, most of their viewership will be underground in less than a decade. Dang. Heavy.

By which I mean Great-Grandpa is heavy.

By which I mean Great-Grandpa is heavy.

So how is The Today Show going to capture young viewers? They have tried little shifts. They have a better (if not virus infested) website, a lot of push for Facebook and Twitter (Matt Lauer begged Justin Bieber to update his “Tweets”) and some much-needed drunken aunt hijinks.

HA!

HA!

But will it be enough? I mean, I watch it regularly, but that’s because I’m a cynical twenty-something with no life. What happens when my generation forgets about morning shows and go to the internet with all their tipsy aunt needs? There are a lot of desperate ladies on the internet, believe me.

What is my defense here? Eh, I guess they’re trying to change. It remains to be seen if they will keep up with the times. If they continue to dramatize their anchor lineup, maybe they can remain in the public eye. They still make enough money to buy your house and dress you like Kathie Lee Gifford.

Oh, Kathie Lee... you make this too easy.

Oh, Kathie Lee… you make this too easy.

I’m curious if they will adapt. The Today Show has remained relevant for over 20 years, so far be it from me to criticize. I just wonder how far they will make it, just like I wonder how anyone could drink so much at 10:00 in the morning.

I don’t think Today needs a lot of defending… yet. However, if they continue on course, they will run into a lot of trouble. A program should hope to bring in viewers without a really dramatic anchor change. Most prefer quality programming, but even that isn’t enough in modern times. They need more than a few tweeks. Today needs to reinvent itself.

Although Kathie Lee and Hoda are great the way they are.

Never change, ladies.

Never change, ladies.

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