8:55am PT by Michael O'Connell
Meredith Vieira Launching Daytime Talk Show With NBCUniversal
Meredith Vieira is heading back to daytime. The former Today host is launching her own nationally syndicated talk show in fall 2014.
NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert confirmed plans for The Meredith Vieira Show on Tuesday, noting NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution will produce and distribute the daily New York City-based show. Vieira will also serve as an executive producer.
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"All of us at NBCU are so excited about this new show with Meredith," said Harbert. "She creates an instant connection with audiences with her smart, quick-witted and down-to-earth style. This entertaining and substantive show will be a great way to reach her loyal daytime fans as well as new ones who will discover why Meredith is one of America's most loved television personalities."
The launch marks Vieira's return to hosting after departing Today in 2011. She previously worked for 60 Minutes and served as the moderator on the founding panel of The View, where she stayed for almost 10 years. Since departing Today, Vieira has continued to contribute to Dateline and also did segments for the recently canceled Rock Center With Brian Williams. She also hosted the syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? from 2002 to 2013.
“As a journalist on Today and 60 Minutes, I learned how to really listen to people and help give them a voice. On The View, I unleashed my own opinionated self and discovered the empowerment that comes with sometimes heated, but always respectful, discussion. And on Millionaire, I relished the joy of changing people's lives while having pure fun,” said Vieira. “All of these experiences, along with being a wife and mom, have led me here because they all share one common denominator... this fundamental need we have to connect with and find inspiration in each other.”
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The set of the series will depart from a lot of contemporary talk shows, adopting a studio that resembles Vieira's home -- including furniture and family photos. Content of the show is described as "an exceptional mix of daytime fun along with feel-good human interest stories from everyday people to celebrity guests who have an important story to tell, lifestyle segments and key topics that highlight Vieira’s warm, relatable and distinctive personality."
The Meredith Vieira Show will likely be of particular competition to Katie Couric's new talker. The other Today alum launched a syndicated daytime talker with Disney-ABC Domestic Television in 2013 to solid (but underwhelming) ratings and several behind-the-scenes changes.
“Each day, I hope to accomplish what I call the three H's: Heat, Heart and Humor,” added Vieira. “And speaking of the heart, I want to thank my husband, Richard, and kids, Ben, Gabe and Lily for strongly encouraging me to take this incredible opportunity… or else they really just want to get me out of the house.”