All Bets Are Off

TV viewers always root for the underdog; it makes for a better story and drama. But once you become the main dog, all bets are off.

When NBC took on Katie Couric as the permanent "Today Show" anchor over a decade ago, she was the humble girl-next-door anchor that morning network viewers didn't perceive as a threat.

Couric beat out another good journalist, Deborah Norville, who was shown the door because of her unfortunate near perfect image of a traditional striking blonde anchor. That profile unfortunately doesn't work with TV viewers - no matter how good your credentials are.

Now Couric apparently has gotten too big for her britches - "a mercurial diva" says The New York Times. "At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights."

Ah, show business! Like a long distance flight, there is always some turbulence.



Have viewers seemingly turned on her?

NBC decided that - at least for now - this isn't the case. Instead, it believes a change in executive producers is the answer to take the once dominating morning show back up to its levels of a few years ago.

Apparently, "The Today Show" has gotten too frivolous - what with Couric playing badminton with the U.S. Olympic team last summer while the other networks were airing Saddam Hussein 's appearence in a Baghdad courtroom to hear the charges as a war criminal. It's not that viewers don't want some yuks in the morning. They just want it at the right time. And, if that's not enough, they want consistency.

Rumor has it that Couric is now sparring with her colleagues -- Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Ann Curry. Interestingly, NBC hired Jim Bell, a sports producer as "Today's" executive producer.

That's just what NBC needs: a morning spin-off of its primetime reality boxing show, "The Contender" -- which is not so far-fetched.

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