Meredith Vieira


Meredith Vieira
Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira at Today in 2010
Born Meredith Louise Vieira
December 30, 1953 (1953-12-30) (age 57)
East Providence, Rhode Island,
United States
Occupation Journalist
Game show host
Spouse(s) Richard M. Cohen
(1986–present)
Children 3
Years active 1975–present
Notable credit(s) Dateline NBC (2006–present)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (2002–present)
Today (2006–2011)
The View (1997–2006)
60 Minutes (1989–1991)
West 57th (1985–1989)

Meredith Louise Vieira (born December 30, 1953) is an American journalist, television personality, and game show host. She is best known for her roles as the original moderator of the ABC talk program The View and co-host of the long-running NBC News morning news program, Today. She currently contributes to Dateline NBC and Rock Center with Brian Williams, and hosts the syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, having replaced Regis Philbin in 2002. She also presented Intimate Portrait, a series on Lifetime.

Contents

Early years

Vieira was born in East Providence, Rhode Island, to Mary Louisa Elsie Rosa Silveira Vieira (October 28, 1904 – November 5, 2004) and Dr. Edwin Vieira (May 15, 1904 – February 1987), both first-generation Portuguese Americans. All four of Vieira’s grandparents came from the Azores, three from Faial Island, one of the nine islands in the archipelago. They all left for a better life in New England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – settling around Providence, RI. She is the youngest of four children, with three older brothers.[1] Vieira was raised Roman Catholic, but has stated in recent interviews that she has "spirituality, not a religion."[2] Vieira attended the Lincoln School, a Quaker all-girls school in Providence. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English from Tufts University and began her career in 1975 as a news announcer for WORC radio in Worcester, Massachusetts, doing afternoon drive news during the B.J. Dean show. She began a career in television working as a local reporter and anchor at WJAR-TV Providence, eventually making her way into the newsroom at WCBS-TV in New York City where she was an investigative reporter from 1979 to 1982.

Career

Vieira first gained national recognition as a CBS reporter based in their Chicago bureau from 1982 to 1984. She later became a correspondent for nationwide news-magazine shows including West 57th (1985–89) and 60 Minutes (1989–91). Her final assignment at CBS was as co-anchor of the CBS Morning News (1992–93). She moved to ABC initially as a correspondent for the news-magazine show Turning Point (1993–97). Following the cancellation of Turning Point, Vieira realized:

...I was a reporter who didn't want to report because it required a tremendous amount of travel, nobody was too interested in having me work for them. I had to reinvent myself...

The View

Vieira served as the original moderator and co-host of ABC's The View from its debut in 1997 through the spring of 2006. As moderator, she introduced "Hot Topics," guided conversations, and broke to commercials. She began each live episode saying "Hello! And welcome to The View!" Vieira's final appearance on The View was June 9, 2006. Her co-hosts gave her a roast to commemorate her final appearance.

In August 2006, Vieira told Time that she hasn't watched The View since she left the show, except the episode when Star Jones announced she was leaving. She said it was "very sad" what's happened to it: "I'm proud of the work we did there, but it's not a good time in the history of the show... It's hard to watch. It sort of became a joke."[3] On August 29, 2006, Vieira told the New York Post that she didn't mean that The View was a joke. She said the interview was taken out of context. "I felt that the media was turning [The View] into a joke, not that the show was a joke," she says. Time added a clarification to its website, saying "[Vieira] assures Time that in no way were her comments meant to be insensitive or derogatory..."[4]

In 1999, Vieira began hosting Lifetime's Intimate Portrait, which chronicles the lives of women in art, entertainment, politics, business, science, journalism, and sports.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

Vieira has hosted the American syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire since 2002—a continuation of the primetime show hosted by Regis Philbin. The daytime quiz show is syndicated by Buena Vista Television, a division of ABC. In 2005 and again in 2009, Vieira won a Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Game Show Host for her role on Millionaire. As an executive producer, Vieira has a financial investment in the show.

Vieira was a celebrity contestant on the Philbin version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire before she hosted the syndicated version, winning $250,000 for her charity. She even made an appearance on the ABC version during the show's 10th anniversary series, hosting its final segment while Philbin himself was given the opportunity to answer one question in order to win $50,000 for his selected charity.

Today

Vieira with Michael Bublé

Vieira accepted an offer to succeed Katie Couric as co-anchor of Today on April 6, 2006, the day after Couric announced that she would depart the show to become anchor of the CBS Evening News. The following day, Vieira announced on The View that she would be leaving the show to be co-anchor of Today, a role View co-host and ABC News journalist Barbara Walters had filled nearly four decades earlier during her tenure at NBC during the 1960s and 1970s. Vieira hosted the show with Matt Lauer from September 13, 2006 through June 8, 2011, also becoming a contributing anchor for Dateline NBC.[5][6]

Vieira continued as host of Millionaire while appearing on Today. As part of her contract with Millionaire, Vieira agreed not to appear on Today during hours that would conflict with the airing of the game show on competing stations. As a result, she rarely appeared on the third or fourth hours of Today. Her first appearance during the third hour came on June 25, 2008, for "Today Throws a Wedding". She also appeared during the entire third hour during the Beijing Olympics, Vancouver Olympics and the Barack Obama inauguration on January 20, 2009.

Vieira announced on May 9, 2011 that she would depart as co-host in the following month, but would remain at NBC News in an as-yet undetermined role. Her last appearance as co-host was on June 8; she returned to Today on October 31, 2011 for the show's Halloween episode. She is currently a contributor to Dateline NBC and a correspondent on Rock Center with Brian Williams.

Other appearances

  • Vieira "hosts" a spoof of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, called Who Wants to Be King of the Jungle? on the second disc of the Special Edition DVD of The Lion King 1½. Timon the Meerkat serves as the contestant; Pumbaa as an audience member for the "Poll the Herd" lifeline as well as being the "Phone an Animal" lifeline.
  • Vieira is a former spokesperson for Bayer, serving as an on-air personality in their commercials.
  • In 2000, she hosted the Academy Awards pre-show for ABC.[7]
  • Vieira had a brief stint in the Broadway show Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2003, appearing in various scenes.[8]
  • Vieira had a cameo as the host of a proposed game show in the 2004 version of The Stepford Wives.
  • Vieira also hosts a series of featurettes that are included on the first season DVDs of the ABC television show Desperate Housewives. Vieira interviews cast members and the show's creators in California. Vieira was required to sign a secrecy agreement in order to allow her access to script secrets.
  • Vieira made her first guest appearance on The View since leaving the show on Monday, Oct. 8, 2007.
  • Vieira had guest appearances in the NBC sitcom 30 Rock in the episodes "Greenzo" and "Larry King." In another episode, it is implied that she sexually harasses Kenneth Parcell.
  • Vieira made a cameo role as a news reporter in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
  • Vieira made an appearance as Broomsy Witch in Shrek Forever After.
  • Vieira made an appearance on the "Chumdog Millionaire" episode of Pawn Stars, in which, in a dream sequence, she reads the million dollar question to Chumlee.
  • Vieira appeared in the 2010 film Get Him to the Greek as herself in a scene where the main characters appear on The Today Show.
  • Vieira made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as herself in a scene where she wanted to be the 300,000th audience member of the show, but instead was the 300,001st.[9]
  • Vieira made a cameo appearance in the Doctor Who episode "The Wedding of River Song".

Personal life

Vieira married Emmy-award winning CBS News journalist Richard M. Cohen on June 14, 1986.[10][11] They reside with their three children in Irvington in Westchester County, New York. Richard Cohen has had multiple sclerosis since he was 25 years old, and has had two bouts of colon cancer, one in 1999 and one a year later.[12]

Balancing family and career

Vieira joined 60 Minutes in 1989 following the birth of her first child. Don Hewitt, executive producer of 60 Minutes, allowed her to work part-time for two seasons so she could care for her child. After that, she would work full-time. But after two years, she became pregnant again and asked to continue the part-time arrangement. Hewitt declined her request, deciding instead to hire someone who would work full-time. Her departure from the show garnered headlines, as a national debate started to take place about whether women could balance both family and career. She turned down opportunities to co-host The Early Show on CBS, and ABC's Good Morning America when her children were young.

Vieira discusses her family and career decisions in the book Divided Lives: The Public and Private Struggles of Three American Women by Elsa Walsh.[13]

Honors

In 2006, Vieira received the P.T. Barnum Award from Tufts University for her exceptional work in the field of media and entertainment.

Career timeline

References

  1. ^ Jenny Allen (September 2006). "Wit, Wisdom & Warmth: Meredith Vieira Uncensored". Good Housekeeping. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/names/celebrity/meredith-vieira-sep06. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  2. ^ Lesley Dormen (2007). "Counting Her Blessings". Good Housekeeping. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/celebrity/meredith-vieira-counting-blessings-5. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  3. ^ TMZ Staff (28 August 2006). "Meredith Calls "The View" A "Joke"". TMZ. http://www.tmz.com/2006/08/28/meredith-calls-the-view-a-joke/. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  4. ^ TMZ Staff (29 August 2006). "Meredith: "View" Not A Joke, Actually". TMZ. http://www.tmz.com/2006/08/29/meredith-view-not-a-joke-actually/. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  5. ^ MSNBC staff (7 April 2006). "Vieira chosen as Couric's 'Today' Successor". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12185893/. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  6. ^ Staff (6 April 2006). "NBC Preps for Vieira Announcement". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6322541.html?display=Breaking+News. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  7. ^ Owen, Rob (2000-03-26). "Audience can share Meredith Vieira's view from the red carpet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/magazine/20000326vieira8.asp. 
  8. ^ Kent Jones (April 2003). "Meredith Vieira Will Sing, Dance and Act in Millie". Playbill. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/78722-Meredith_Vieira_Will_Sing_Dance_and_Act_in_Millie_One_Show_Only_April_2. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  9. ^ TheEllenShow (28 February 2011). "Meredith Vieira Loses It!". The Ellen DeGeneres Show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOdOrlsH4vQ. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  10. ^ Richard Cohen (2004-02-22) (transcript). Interview with Larry King. Larry King: Live. CNN. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0402/22/lkl.00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  11. ^ "Meredith Vieira Today". iVillage. June 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-01-20. http://web.archive.org/web/20080120175333/http://meredithtoday.ivillage.com/entertainment/2007/06/. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  12. ^ Judith Newman (2002). "Meredith Vieira: A Look Back". The Ladies' Home Journal. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20070216234500/http://www.lhj.com/lhj/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/lhj/story/data/meredithvieiraarticle_08202002.xml. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  13. ^ Lisa Belkin (13 August 2006). "Meredith Vieira: Her Morning Shift". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/magazine/13viera.html?_r=1&sq=Meredith%20Vieira&st=cse&oref=slogin&scp=5&adxnnlx=1220803316-Gbtt6KQJXz9YM%20Sx7z86fQ&pagewanted=print. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 

External links

Media offices
First The View moderator
1997–2006
Succeeded by
Rosie O'Donnell
Preceded by
Katie Couric
Today Show Co-Anchor
with Matt Lauer

2006–2011
Succeeded by
Ann Curry
Preceded by
Regis Philbin
Host, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (US version)
2002–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Awards
Preceded by
Bob Barker
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
2005
Succeeded by
Alex Trebek

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