Katie Couric and Sarah Palin Will Have a Morning Show Deathmatch this Week

Stunned that ABC decided to steal all the morning viewers during a non-sweeps week by enlisting famed morning show ringer Katie Couric to guest-anchor Good Morning America, producers over at NBC's usually dominant Today appeared resigned to take the temporary ratings blow. They were resigned, that is, until they enlisted Sarah "Ratings Barracuda" Palin, devourer of newsmagazines, liberal pundits, and shiny jewelry, to co-host Tuesday's edition of Today. It is so on. Nightly News host Lester Holt was the first to break the news on Friday that Palin would appear on Today, but he didn't reveal until the weekend that she would be guest-hosting, a very unwelcome tidbit of information to some MSNBC employees, who wondered whether the announcement might not be some horribly premature April Fool's prank:

The Palin pick was part of the discussion on MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry" this morning, with Harris-Perry asking her panel of guests if the rumor (which by then was fact) was, "Real or fake?"

"I hope its fake," said one, while another chimed in about what we all know: "NBC is doing that as counterprogramming to Katie Couric guest hosting "Good Morning America."

Palin and Couric's nearly contiguous morning show appearances will bring them tantalizingly close to being back on screen together, staring awkwardly across the gulf of worldviews that separates the two women. They're too close, in fact, not to wonder how morbidly intriguing it would be to see them co-hosting a show, like, together. I mean, now that Palin has a bit of totally legitimate experience as a political expert on the highly-esteemed beacon of objective journalism Fox News, Couric must be dying to work with her. In the effort to bring the two whip-smart women together, I've generated a little list of, let's call them suggestions, for what the Couric/Palin television dynamo could do:

  • Cooking with Katie & Sarah could feature all sorts of homespun recipes, like different pies whose crusts are made from a pulpy mixture of every newspaper and magazine on stands that very same day. After baking each pie, Couric could spoon feed it to Palin, but Palin would close her mouth and shake her head because that would be their little shtick, Couric trying to spoon feed Palin and Palin mistaking the spoon for a threat.
  • Katie & Sarah's Book Corner wouldn't be the most erudite show on television, but who's reading anyway when there's so much TV on? Certainly not Sarah Palin, who, halfway through each show, would admit to not finishing the book. That would be Katie Couric's cue to put her hands on her hips, turn to the audience, who would all know to say, "Aww, Sarah!" together.
  • On Kickball with Sarah Palin, only Sarah Palin would be on screen. Katie Couric would be behind the camera, teeing up kickball after kickball and trying to break Palin's concentration by hitting her in the head
  • Where in the World Is Katie Couric? would be an educational program that would scare children into being more assiduous geography students as they'd watch in horror Sarah Palin haplessly navigating what she thinks is the globe, but what is actually Epcot. Meanwhile, Katie Couric sips espresso in Rome and watches the coverage of Palin's futile search with a mix of shame and delight.

Networks, take heed — there's an untapped oil reserve in television and it's a quirky mix of Sarah Palin and Katie Couric. Sarah Palin, at least, would want to drill for it.

Sarah Palin To Co-Host Today On Tuesday [Mediaite]