There's trouble brewing at NBC's Today show: With a mix of news, human interest and silliness, Matt Lauer and his cohorts used to be America's number one choice each morning. Now Today has dropped in popularity and ABC's Good Morning America sits on top. What happened? Well, a lot. A lot happened.
There is no other program I have watched as long as I have watched the Today Show. It's been decades. Since I was a kid. Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley, Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Ann Curry, Meredith Vieira, that old coot Willard Scott. Day in, day out, for hours: The "news" and some other completely absurd and unnecessary features (this morning it was an earth-shattering story about why Americans drink lots of coffee; an "expert" actually explained that coffee has caffeine in it). Despite the years of viewing, and the fact that most of the time I see the shiny anchors' faces more often than I see my own damn family, my feelings about the show are equal parts love and loathe: It's informative yet beyond cheesy, somehow completely behind the times while staying on top of the latest. For a while, I was deeply convinced that Ann Curry was The Worst™ — a horrible interviewer and awkward person. But something crazy happened after Ann Curry left: Today got even WORSE. Embarrassing attempts at "viral" videos, a steady stream of new, bland people, a horrible, unmoderated, free-for-all segment called Take 3 that's basically like being forced to listen to some strangers having a loud conversation on a bus and makes me want to stick pencils in my ears so that I never have to hear that brand of insipid chitchat again.