Category: Today show

Kathie Lee Gifford's 'Today' interview with Martin Short gets awkward

Martin Short

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb have cultivated a breezy, anything-goes atmosphere for their fourth hour of NBC's "Today" show, but that seeming lack of preparation worked against Gifford on Wednesday during an otherwise routine interview with Martin Short, who was there promoting his new animated film "Madagascar 3."

Gifford asked about Short's children and then began talking about Short's wife, Nancie.

"And he and Nancie have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?" Gifford asked.

One problem: Short's wife died in 2010 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.

After a brief stumble, Short answered Gifford's question straight, giving no hint of her error. "Um ... married 36 years," he responded.

Still clueless, Gifford continued her questioning. "But you're still in love?"

"Madly in love," Short responded.

"Why?" Gifford wanted to know.

"I'm cute," Short said.

And then the conversation moved on. Unless viewers had knowledge of Nancie's death (which was widely reported by the media at the time), they would have been oblivious to the conversation's awkwardness.

After a return from a commercial break, Gifford apologized on air and explained that Short informed her after the segment of his wife's passing.

"I feel so badly," Gifford said.


'Good Morning America' beats 'Today' again in ratings race

Ryan Seacrest signs on as 'Today' correspondent in new pact

'Good Morning America' thumps 'Today' for first time since 1996

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Martin Short. Credit:

'Good Morning America' beats 'Today' again in ratings race

The a.m. TV war continues, with "Good Morning America" back on top over "Today."

For the week of April 23, ABC's "GMA" averaged 5.3 million total viewers, compared with 5.1 million for its NBC rival, according to figures released Thursday by Nielsen. That marks the second time in three weeks that "GMA" -- which has lagged behind "Today" for years -- has won the ratings crown.

Happily for "GMA," the week happened to coincide with co-host Robin Roberts' 10th anniversary on the show.

But NBC isn't giving up yet. The network delivered its own news release Thursday pointing out that it continued to dominate among viewers aged 25 to 54 -- the top demographic in the TV news business.

What do you think of the morning ratings battle? Have you switched viewing habits lately?


Matt Lauer re-ups at 'Today'

'GMA' thumps 'Today' for first time since 1996

'GMA' with Katie Couric battles 'Today' to ratings tie


--Scott Collins (

Photo: Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos co-host "Good Morning America," which has recently topped longtime leader "Today" in the ratings. Credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABC



Ryan Seacrest signs on as 'Today' correspondent in new pact


Ryan Seacrest has joined forces with NBCUniversal in a multi-platform agreement that will feature him working in several capacities, including as a correspondent for the "Today" show and at the Olympics.

The deal with Seacrest, who is a producer and the host of "American Idol," extends his current on-air presence with E! Entertainment into having a presence on NBC.

Steve Burke, chief executive of NBCUniversal, said the company looks foward to Seacrest's "continued role on E! and to having him appear on many new places across NBCUniversal, including the 'Today' show and at the Olympics."


Jon Hamm does blackface for live "30 Rock" episode

Late Night: Stephen Colbert on Obama's "slow jams" backlash

MTV: What you need to know about five new shows

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Ryan Seacrest. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press

NBC's 'Today' claws back to top of morning ratings over 'GMA'

"Today" back on top

"Today" is on top again.

NBC's morning show took back the ratings crown last week from its archrival, ABC's "Good Morning America." "Today" averaged 5.2 million total viewers vs. 5 million for "GMA," according to Nielsen. The week gave "Today" its best viewer numbers in six weeks. 

NBC has dominated the morning race for 16 years now, but ABC has made huge strides against its competitor over the last few months. Earlier this month, "GMA" finally logged a weekly win against "Today" for the first time since the mid-1990s. 

But this race is far from over, with ABC bosses prepared to wage a lengthy war for supremacy. (CBS' recently revamped morning show, co-hosted by Charlie Rose and Gayle King, remains a distant third.) 

"A year ago I don't think anyone would have believed that we would be trading days and weeks with the 'Today' show, "GMA" senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski wrote in a statement.

What do you think of the dueling morning shows?


"Good Morning America" thumps "Today" in ratings battle

"GMA" with Katie Couric battles "Today" to ratings tie

Matt Lauer reups at "Today"

--Scott Collins

Photo: Savannah Guthrie, left, Matt Lauer and Amy Robach on NBC's "Today." Credit: Charles Sykes / NBC


Rosie O'Donnell gives thumbs down to Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor

Rosie O'DonnellRosie O'Donnell joined the "Today" show panel discussion "Today's Professionals" for the first time on Tuesday (a seat occupied by Sarah Palin just a couple of weeks ago) and voiced her disapproval of the casting of Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor in a Lifetime movie.

"I feel very sorry for her," O'Donnell told moderator Matt Lauer and fellow panelists Star Jones and Donny Deutch when the subject of Lohan came up. "I think she needs a lot of help. She needs a lot of time away."

Though Jones and Deutch were slightly more open to Lohan's casting, O'Donnell wasn't having any of it, stating flatly: "I don't think she's right for the role, and I don't think she's capable at this point of doing what's needed to portray that character," she said. "I think the interest level in her has waned significantly."

Lohan is set to begin filming "Liz & Dick," about the Hollywood icon's temptestuous love affair with Richard Burton, in Los Angeles beginning in June.

The Lifetime movie is Lohan's latest stop on her personal comeback trail that began with a "Saturday Night Live" hosting gig in early March and includes a cameo on Fox's series "Glee."

Don't bother attempting to explain the comeback to O'Donnell, though. She dismissed all her recent acting efforts by saying, "The last thing she did good, she was 16."

Michael Lohan, Lindsay's dad, took offense at the diss, telling TMZ on Tuesday, "Who the hell is Rosie O'Donnell to judge anyone, especially Lindsay, who has far more talent than Rosie ever had?"

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Lindsay Lohan starts comeback trail with "SNL"

Lindsay Lohan to play Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime biopic

Lindsay Lohan on 'Saturday Night Live': Fans rip hosting job

— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Rosie O'Donnell. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images.

'Good Morning America' thumps 'Today' for first time since 1996

George Stephanopoulos on 'Good Morning America'

It's morning for America — "Good Morning America," that is.

ABC's a.m. extravaganza finally overthrew NBC's "Today" last week, ending its archrival's 16-year grip atop the weekly ratings.

"GMA," hosted by George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts — drew an average of 5,147,000 total viewers last week, just 13,000 more than "Today," according to Nielsen. While "GMA" has beaten "Today" before now on individual days, it hasn't done so in the weekly averages since 1996.

Perhaps more important to the long-term trends, "GMA" was up 7% compared with the same week a year ago, while "Today" sank 9%.

A word of caution, however: The margin is so tiny that it could easily be erased when the final figures are released later this week. "Today," ironically, just handed co-host Matt Lauer a rich new contract set to last for several years.

“This is an exciting day, but we will save any celebrating for when the final numbers come in on Thursday," Tom Cibrowski, "GMA's" senior executive producer, said in a statement.

What do you think? Is this the end of "Today's" dominance? What's your favorite morning show?


"GMA" with Katie Couric battles "Today" to ratings tie

Matt Lauer reups at "Today"

George Stephanopoulos back at "The Week"

— Scott Collins (

Photo: George Stephanopoulos is the co-host of "Good Morning America," which beat "Today" in the preliminary weekly ratings for last week for the first time in 16 years. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman/Los Angeles Times.

Katie Couric-helmed 'GMA' battles 'Today' to a ratings tie

Katie Couric on 'Good Morning America'

[This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.]

To heck with Sarah Palin — Katie Couric may have earned her keep in the morning-show battle after all. 

On Friday, ABC's "Good Morning America" — the longtime No. 2 show in the mornings — pulled even with NBC's usual No. 1 "Today" in a ratings tie, averaging 4.7 million total viewers apiece, according to Nielsen. "GMA" had narrowly won on Wednesday as well, although "Today" still won the week, by an average of just more than 200,000 viewers.

But the close shaves were news because the "GMA" guest host last week was none other than Couric, the former "Today" show anchor. The stunt drew a lot of attention, partly because NBC was so "desperate" (in the words of former co-host Meredith Vieira) to blunt the Couric invasion that producers brought Sarah Palin aboard Tuesday as guest host.

Technically, NBC was still ahead for Friday, with 4.719 million viewers compared with ABC's 4.694 million. But The Times and many other publications typically round to the nearest tenth, so the ratings were essentially the same.

Overall, "GMA" has been closing the gap with "Today" this year. Season to date, "Today" has been winning by the smallest margins in 16 years.

What did you think of Couric on "GMA"?

[For the record, 3:19 p.m. April 9: An earlier version of this post misstated the Friday averages for "Today" and "Good Morning America" as the averages for the week, not just that day.]


"Good Morning America" takes rare ratings win

Katie Couric comes up short in Monday faceoff against "Today"

Katie Couric to guest host on "GMA"

Sarah Palin's "Today" gig gets unflattering reviews

—Scott Collins (

Photo: Katie Couric with George Stephanopoulos, left, and Emeril Lagasse on "Good Morning America" last week. Credit: Ida Mae Astute/Associated Press.


Matt Lauer extends 'Today' contract: 'This is my family'

Get ready for more Matt Lauer — although NBC isn't saying how much more.

On Friday's "Today," the highly paid cohost announced he would remain on the show, confirming a published report the day before that said he had concluded a new deal. His old contract was set to expire at the end of this year, touching off speculation of what that might mean for TV's No. 1 morning show.

However, NBC would say only that Lauer's extension is a "multi-year" deal; the network also did not issue a release, an unusual step for such a high-profile talent. His pay is believed to have increased from $17 million to $25 million per year, making him among the most handsomely compensated hosts on TV.

“This is my family. I love this job," Lauer said on the air. "I love working with you guys and all the people behind the scenes. I’m excited. Let’s keep going." 

Lauer has been the cohost of "Today" since 1997. He joined the program as a news reader in 1994.

What do you think of Lauer on the "Today" show?


Ryan Seacrest to join NBC's Olympics coverage

Viewers bash Sarah Palin on "Today"

Katie Couric can't grab ratings crown from NBC's "Today"

— Scott Collins (

Photo: Matt Lauer chats with "Today" guest host Sarah Palin on Tuesday. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press.




Katie Couric's 'Good Morning America' beats 'Today'

Katie Couric was a "Today" fixture for 17 years. Now she's beaten them in the ratings.

Couric, guest-hosting at "Good Morning America" this week, led the ABC show to a rare victory over NBC's "Today" on Wednesday. "GMA" drew 5.2 million total viewers, compared with 5.1 million for "Today."

The morning shows have been getting plenty of attention this week, with Couric's face-off against guest host Sarah Palin on Tuesday's "Today" being treated like some sort of cage match. ("Today" won that round, 5.5 million vs. 5.1 million.)

But in fact, "GMA" is on a major roll even without Couric. The program has been the runner-up to "Today" for years but has been narrowing the margin in recent months. "GMA" won two days each last week and the week before as well, battling down to the smallest weekly gap against its archrival in seven years.

What have you thought of Couric on "GMA" this week?


Katie Couric comes up short in Monday faceoff against "Today"

Katie Couric to guest host on "GMA"

Sarah Palin's "Today" gig gets unflattering reviews

-Scott Collins (

Photo: Katie Couric, second from left, with the cast of ABC's "Good Morning America." Credit: Ida Mae Astute/Associated Press.



Ryan Seacrest to join NBC's Olympics coverage

Ryan Seacrest won't be joining "Today" anytime soon, but he will be joining NBC's Olympics coverage this summer. Matt Lauer grilled Ryan Seacrest over the "Today" show rumors
Ryan Seacrest's much-hyped big NBC announcement finally arrived on Wednesday morning, but those expecting a major changing of the guard in morning TV were disappointed.

Instead, Seacrest added yet another job to his stuffed resume, announcing that he's joining NBC's prime-time coverage of the Olympics in London this summer.

The ubiquitous TV face also appeared on NBC's "Today" to quash an ongoing rumor that he would be joining the program, replacing Matt Lauer.

Lauer, who conducted the interview, got to that right off the bat, asking Seacrest, "What kind of conversations have you had with NBC about joining the 'Today' show?"

"Oh, they didn't tell you?" Seacrest answered. He then went on to explain how E! and NBC are in the same corporate family (both part of NBCUniversal) and how he planned to participate more on NBC, including the Olympics, while still serving as host of E! News, E!'s red-carpet host for award shows and as a reality-TV producer of shows featuring the Kardashian sisters.

Good answer? Not for Lauer. "You didn't answer the question," he said. "What conversations have you had with NBC officials about joining this program? I want names and dates."

Seacrest said the conversations were mostly about doing the weather. 

"So Al [Roker] should be doing this interview," Lauer said.

Both men then tried to relieve any tension about the situation by revealing that they've had dinner and joked about the rumors that Seacrest would be replacing Lauer on the morning show. 

"I bought dinner," Lauer said. "Which I thought was completely inappropriate."

Seacrest said Lauer should stay on "Today" as long as he wants. Lauer said Seacrest would be great in his chair.

Meanwhile, Seacrest said he plans to stay on "American Idol" for yet another season, though he stopped short of making the official announcement. 

In addition to his TV hosting duties, he has the top-40 radio show "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" and the internationally syndicated chart show "American Top 40."


Viewers bash Sarah Palin on "Today"

Katie Couric can't grab ratings crown from NBC's "Today"

Sarah Palin largely avoids politics in "Today" show appearance

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Left photo: Matt Lauer. Credit: Peter Kramer / NBC

Right photo: Ryan Seacrest. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Katie Couric can't grab ratings crown from NBC's 'Today'

Katie Couric on "Good Morning America"

Katie Couric couldn't quite conquer her old employer Monday.

The former "Today" co-host has turned up this week in a temporary headliner spot on her old archrival, ABC's "Good Morning America." But at least so far, "Today" is staying in its No. 1 position in the ratings.

For Monday, NBC's morning show averaged 5.1 million total viewers, compared with "GMA's" 4.8 million, according to Nielsen.

Couric's stint on "GMA" is part of a big network warm-up for her daily talk show coming later this year. But it's also part of the latest escalation in the endless morning TV wars.

"GMA" has toiled as No. 2 to "Today" for nearly 17 years, but lately it's been closing the ratings gap. "Today," meanwhile, is on the verge of reshuffling its talent deck, with co-host Ann Curry rumored to be headed for the exits and a possible role -- to be announced as early as Wednesday -- for "American Idol's" Ryan Seacrest, with whom NBC is wrapping up a major deal.

But the biggest news of course was "Today's" guest-hosting job on Tuesday for Sarah Palin, a stunt that earned massive PR and also some derision. Those ratings will be available Wednesday.

What did you think of Couric's "GMA" hosting gig?


Katie Couric to co-host 'Good Morning America'

Viewers bash Sarah Palin on 'Today'

Sarah Palin largely avoids politics in 'Today' show appearance

-- Scott Collins

Photo: Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "Good Morning America." Credit: Lou Rocco / Associated Press


Sarah Palin's 'Today' show gig gets unflattering reviews

Sarah Palin on 'Today'

Sarah Palin joined Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Al Roker (or, as Lauer joked, "the lamestream media") on "Today" on Tuesday in an attempt to counter the ratings draw of Katie Couric over on ABC's "Good Morning America." And though the numbers aren't in yet, viewer reaction has been less than kind.

Though Palin largely avoided discussing politics during her appearance -- except during her sit-down interview with Lauer and to slam Julianne Moore's performance in "Game Change" -- she did talk about Jessica Simpson's weight gain and Ashton Kutcher as being cast to play Steve Jobs.

But she didn't seem to be winning any popularity contests with viewers who took to Twitter on Tuesday morning. 

Paula Froelich wrote, "Kim Kardashian, Sarah Palin filling in for hosts on Today show during sweeps week -- as NBC loses all pretension of news."

Maggie Klaus wrote, "It's awkward watching Sarah Palin on #Today, knowing how much the other hosts loath her."

Karen Acker wrote, "I can't believe that The Today Show had Sarah Palin on as a guest host today. I have watched the show for 20 years. I am disappointed!"

Ohio resident VWAimlessly wrote, "Woke up. Took shower. Made coffee. Filter collapsed, grounds in coffee, aargh! Turn on TV. Palin on NBC Coffee & grounds exit nose."

And Stacy wrote, "I don't understand why Sarah Palin was on The Today Show this morning...she has nothing valuable to say and her voice gives me a headache."

The former Alaska governor did have her defenders. Vernon AkA Patriot wrote, "#todayshow actually had ratings today only because of Sarah #Palin and she did great good job Palin all those stupid liberals are jealous."

Palin did poke some fun at herself during her stint on the show, including a staged bit where she was caught preparing for her appearance surrounded by newspapers, a reference to her infamous answer to Katie Couric's 2008 question about which newspapers she reads.

So how do you think she did?


Sarah Palin to co-host 'Today' on Tuesday

Sarah Palin largely avoids politics in 'Today' show appearance

"Game Change": Five craziest scenes in HBO Sarah Palin film

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Sarah Palin on "Today." Credit: Peter Kramer / NBC


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: