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Posts Tagged ‘Hoda Kotb’

Who’s That Guy Roaming the ‘Today’ Show Plaza?

Alex oneTwelve years ago, Alex Ficquette was a teenager shouting at the back of a “Today” show concert featuring Mary J. Blige.

“I randomly saw Al Roker buying a pretzel from a street vendor, and said ‘Hi’ to him,” Ficquette told TVNewser. Fast forward to today, where he’s been anointed “Alex on the plaza.”

The Associate Producer for the “Today” show oversees the signature outdoor plaza, interacting with fans who come from far and wide to experience the concerts, contests, and ideally, enjoy their 15 minutes — or just a few seconds — of fame with “Today’s” hosts.

Friday morning, TVNewser spent some time on the plaza as OneRepublic performed. All the while, Ficquette, 27, kept the crowd revved up as they waited for the pop-rock band to take the stage. Taking pictures, sparking conversations, and giving shout outs to the best signs is all part of being the plaza’s ringleader (Vine after the jump).

“That group outside, they’ve been up since 2:30am, and you would never know it,” he told us about one energetic group celebrating their friend’s 60th birthday. “You have to be interested in people’s stories. I feed off of their energy because they’re in amazing spirits.” When he’s not on the plaza he might appearing on the show’s fourth hour with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.

Ficquette’s path to the TV news business is a story in itself. “I didn’t go to school for film or production,” he said.

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‘Today’ Anchors Throw Savannah Guthrie a Baby Shower

Savannah Guthrie‘s “Today” show colleagues — Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Tamron Hall and Natalie Morales — threw the expecting mom a baby shower last week at The Glass Houses in Chelsea. Although Morales didn’t attend because she was in Brazil covering the World Cup, Guthrie was feted by NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager, Cynthia McFadden, Contessa Brewer, Dylan Dreyer and Erica Hill, as well as CBS’ Gayle King, ABC’s Amy Robach and Deborah Roberts, and CNN’s Kate Bolduan, who is also expecting

“I have never felt in my life so much genuine joy,” Guthrie said in a speech with her husband, Mike Feldman. “Because when you say that you’re happy for us and you give us a hug or you rub the belly, I know you really mean it.” Watch:

Why Was the ‘Today’ Show Preempted in New Orleans Friday?

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.56.34 AMThe fourth hour of the “Today” show was preempted on NBC affiliate WDSU in New Orleans Friday, because of who was co-hosting.

With Kathie Lee Gifford off, Hoda Kotb invited her best friend Karen Swensen to sit in. One problem: Swensen is the main anchor at WDSU rival WWL, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans.

Instead of seeing Kotb and Swensen together again, New Orleans viewers were treated to a repeat of Queen Latifah’s show on WDSU. Kotb and Swensen met 20 years ago when both worked at WWL. Swensen left to anchor at NECN for a few years, but returned to WWL in 2010.

The preemption did sit well with some hometown fans.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.06.25 AM

For its part, WDSU responded on its Faebook page: “Our decision not to air the fourth hour of the “Today Show” follows a longstanding practice. WDSU does not enable the promotion of anchors on other local television stations through roles as hosts of programs on our television station. We regret the circumstances that required us to make this decision.”

(h/t WWL.com)

VIDEO: Career Advice From Kathie Lee and Hoda at the Matrix Awards

TVNewsers were out in force at this year’s Matrix Awards, held recently at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Mediabistro’s Vicki Salemi caught up with some of the attendees — including Queen Latifah, Gloria Steinem and the event’s emcees, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb — for some career advice from the red carpet:

Bret Baier Stops By ‘Today,’ ‘O’Reilly Factor’ on Book Tour

Bret Baier‘s book about his son’s heart problems, “Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage, and Love,” is out today. The Fox News Channel anchor stopped by the fourth hour of the “Today” show this morning with his wife Amy and his two sons, Paul and Daniel, to share their story.

“The reason I wrote the book is because, one, Paul is doing fantastic. And, two, we thought this book could help other people. Everybody has something, or knows somebody,” Baier told Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. “And hopefully we can be an inspiration and make some awareness out there.” Watch:

Baier also appeared on CSPAN over the weekend and Bill O’Reilly‘s Fox News program last night. Watch after the jump. Read more

Is Willie Geist ‘the Next Matt Lauer’?

willie geistSince Willie Geist joined the “Today” show in 2012, rumors have swirled that he is the heir apparent to Matt Lauer, whose current deal with the NBC morning show expires early next year. In a New York Observer profile, Geist addresses the succession speculation:

“I think with respect to people who say that, it’s just that—speculation. It’s totally meaningless,” says Mr. Geist. “It’s fun for people to talk about, but I can tell you honestly that I never had one single conversation about that, ever. Matt is the host, and he’s the best morning show host in the history of morning show hosts, and he’ll be there as long as he wants to be there. So there’s no point in me thinking about it. All I do is try to do a good job in our hour, and when they ask me to fill in for him, I fill in for him.”

And if the powers that be at NBC called him? “I would certainly take the phone calls from my superiors at work, but I’ve never received one like that. If it happens, I’ll answer, and we’ll see.”

Geist also appeared on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” this week, where he was asked about his craziest experience with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hota Kotb. Watch after the jump. Read more

Two Dozen Women of TV News, Barbara Walters’ Legacy, Join Her on Her Final ‘View’

WaltersView1

For weeks we’ve been writing about the legacy of Barbara Walters. This afternoon, that legacy came to life in the finale of her final “The View,” taped at ABC’s West Side studios, and airing tomorrow.

TVNewser was there as more than two dozen women TV news anchors packed the stage, each introduced by Oprah Winfrey, among the guests on Walters’ final show. One by one, they greeted a stunned Walters, beginning with Diane Sawyer and continuing with Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, Elizabeth Vargas, Amy Robach, Deborah Roberts, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira; also, Jane Pauley, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Cynthia McFadden, Gayle King, Maria Shriver, Juju Chang, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lisa Ling, Tamron Hall, Gretchen Carlson, Connie Chung, Paula Zahn, Deborah Norville, and Joan Lunden.

“I have to remember this on the bad days, because this is the best,” said Walters in the commercial break. “They just kept coming, and coming,” joked Sherri Shepherd. During the first part of the show, to keep it secret, the women hid out in Dr. Oz’s studio across the hall.

The show began with Hillary Clinton as the first guest. She encouraged Walters to take some time off — at least a week. Later, Walters said that’s part of her plan — a trip to Berlin is in the works, someplace she’s never been. Among the VIPs in the crowd, New York Knicks forward J.R. Smith. During another commercial break Walters’ joked to Smith that her retirement plans  include “buying the Clippers!” There are other highlights including a hilarious sketch (if you’re a Cheri Oteri fan, and we are) of Barbara interviewing Barbara.

“You’ll never see this again, folks,” Whoppi Goldberg said as the show wound down. “Only for Barbara.”

(Photos: Chris Ariens)

Barbara Walters Farewell: ‘True, I Was the First Female Co-Host… But Also True, I Was a Flop’

WaltersSawyerIt was a star-studded farewell for Barbara Walters at New York City’s Four Seasons restaurant tonight. From comedian Joan Rivers to commissioner Bill Bratton; from New York’s chronicler of scandal, Cindy Adams, to the man who plays the president on “Scandal,” Tony Goldwyn; from actor Woody Allen to attorney David Boies, But mostly, the pool room was packed with Walters’ fellow TV news colleagues and those ladies — past and present — from “The View.” Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd; Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar.

Following a best of Barbara video, Disney Chairman Bob Iger welcomed the crowd, before Walters delivered a few words of thanks and admitting it hasn’t always been easy. “True, I was the first female co-host of a network news program. But also true, I was a flop. My male co-host didn’t want a partner and neither did the audience. I was drowning, gasping for air. Then someone threw me that life preserver called Specials with the biggest stars in news and show business and I learned how to swim again.”

Current and former evening news anchors were there, including Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams who arrived with Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and fiancé John Molner; and Connie Chung (who was part of an ill-fated co-anchor pairing with Dan Rather) and husband Maury Povich. We caught up with early risers Savannah Guthrie and George Stephanopoulos along with their spouses, Mike Feldman, and Ali Wentworth, respectively, as they were heading out. Guthrie’s “Today” colleague Al Roker and his wife, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts made the rounds as well.

Walters continued: “I’m grateful to the legendary Roone Arledge for bringing me to ABC News; thankful to David Westin for his steady leadership; to Ben Sherwood – you made us all believe we could win and with your leadership and passion, we did; and James Goldston – I’m told that all our shows are number one at the moment – you should quit right now.” Sherwood, Goldston and Westin were all on hand, as were other ABC News executives including Barbara Fedida, David Sloan, Jeanmarie Condon and John Green.

We spotted Jenny McCarthy hand-in-hand with fiance Donnie Wahlberg; the “Nightline” team of Juju ChangDan Abrams, and Dan Harris as well as a host of correspondents and anchors from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox, including Elizabeth VargasAmy RobachDavid MuirNorah O’DonnellJon KarlGio Benitez, Dr. Richard Besser, Tory JohnsonRick Klein, Brian Ross, Mara Schiavocampo, Thomas RobertsAlicia MenendezHoda Kotb, Greta Van Susteren and Lisa Ling, a former “View” co-host, now woking on a new show for CNN.

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The Sunday Ticker: Kotb, Cavett, Gupta

  • “Today” show co-host Hoda Kotb is putting on her running shoes this morning as host of the 11th Annual More/Fitness Women’s Half-Marathon in Central Park. Kotb will welcome 20,000 runners and spectators for the largest women’s-only half-marathon in the country.

  • Legendary talk show host Dick Cavett, who will be a guest on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” this morning, is being honored by the Museum of Broadcast Communications at its annual benefit in June. The Chicago museum will also launch “Dick Cavett: A Retrospective.”

  • CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta continues his reports from Guinea, in West Africa, today tracking a deadly epidemic of Ebola and what is being done to control it. In the current outbreak, which began last month, the World Health Organization has confirmed more than 100 deaths.

How the 3rd and 4th Hours of ‘Today’ are Doing

TodayThirdHourWhile the first two hours of NBC’s “Today” remain in second place in the mornings, the show’s third and fourth hours are seeing some of the best numbers in years.

The third hour, now called “Today’s Take” and co-hosted by Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist, finished 2013 with its best fourth quarter in total viewers since 2006, averaging more than 3.6 million viewers.

The fourth hour, hosted by Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, had its best-ever total viewer audience for a fourth quarter averaging 2.3 million viewers. There’s also a 2am encore, apparently popular with college students, that draws an additional 700,000 viewers (there’s likely a drinking game involved).

The third hour of “Today” has been around since 1999 when it was called “Later Today.” In 2000, it became an extension of the then-No.1 morning show. Fourth hour hosts Kotb and Gifford are approaching 6 years together.

Every autumn, many local stations replace their post-network morning newscasts — whether it be “Live with Kelly & Michael,” “The Queen Latifah Show,” “Dr. Phil” or “Judge Judy” — making the later hours of “Today” a consistent place to turn in the mid-mornings.

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