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NBCUniversal Monday handed the keys to one of its shiniest new cars -- the Weather Channel -- over to Sam Champion, who becomes voice, face and hair of that network starting early next year. He leaves "Good Morning America" -- and ABC, his home of the past 25 years Wednesday, which seems awfully fast for someone who's been a "beloved" member of this particular family since 2006.
So who might be next?
Lara Spencer? Josh Elliott? Or . . . Robin. Ah, yes, even Robin Roberts: She's beloved by "Good Morning America" viewers, although they'd better get ready to do their loving on some other network if ABC doesn't offer enough of that green stuff that binds TV families, especially morning ones, together.
ABC nonetheless said Champion's departure was amicable. In other words, not at all like the Ann Curry "Today" debacle. But that pesky "now who?" question was still unavoidable. TV Newser, the closely read TV journalism website, said Roberts was "close" to a new "GMA" deal, but offered no such assurances about Elliott or Spencer -- the chatty irrepressible youngsters of this "GMA" family. Could NBC be in their future as well?
Champion -- a superlative TV happy talker who can make even an impending nor'easter seem like a cheerful turn of events -- will be replaced by "GMA" weekend meteorologist Ginger Zee. A profile in the Chicago Tribune once noted that "she's Ginger because her father, who moved here from the Netherlands and didn't speak English, loved 'Gilligan's Island.' Though she's more of a Mary Ann."
Her three-hour tour is about to begin. The weather forecast calls for rough seas.
Jim Lovell, a sound technician who was traveling on the Manhattan-bound train that derailed in the Bronx yesterday morning, killing four, was remembered on this morning's "Today" show. Here's the tribute again, if you missed; Lovell, 58, father of four, was heading to Rockefeller Center to work on the Christmas tree lighting show.
Rob Ford, Toronto's bowling ball of a mayor, has done a number of interviews over the last 24 hours to address ...well, where to begin? Here are this morning's encounter on "Today" and "Good Morning, America:"
And Newsday app readers, please go to newsday.com/tvzone to view...
The "Today" show started its weeklong JFK retrospective Monday with an interview of Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy and who was seen scrambling on the trunk of the presidential limo after the third shot fatally wounded President John F. Kennedy.
Hill, 81, has been a constant TV presence these past few weeks -- on special after special, relaying his...Read more »
Brad Pitt, on the promotional circuit for " 12 Years a Slave" -- Steve McQueen's film opens Friday — spoke with Ann Curry, with the clip airing on this morning's "Today."
It's interesting, and not incidentally because Pitt and Angelina Jolie were vocal supporters of Curry after her ouster at the show. Giving this to her "exclusively" (though he'll certainly be everywhere else over the next 48 hours) would appear to be both a generous gesture and another sign of support for Ann — who, by the way, seems to thriving in her post-"Today" role (though this may be a superficial impression. She has nonetheless done some good work lately).
Newsday.com app readers please watch at newsday.com/tvzone, especially if you want to see Pitt in flowing locks . . .):
The Miley Cyrus express blew through the "Today" show on Monday, with its star performing her new hit, "Wrecking Ball" -- she was clothed, don't worry -- and once again, expressing no regrets about said ball, her VMA performance, her spat with Sinead O'Connor or anything else that may have scandalized most of the country in recent weeks.
Cyrus, who doubled as host and musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend, told co-anchor Matt Lauer in an interview that her Aug. 25 performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards was, in fact, a huge success, or in her words: "It went exactly as planned. It's a month later and we're still talking about it.
"You really never plan to offend people," Cyrus told him, then -- pulling the you're-too-old-to-get-it-card, added: "People are not open to what they don't understand. That's why what I'm doing is for my fans, because they're really young."
Lauer resisted an obvious -- even sensible -- follow-up question, such as "so young people get riding naked on a wrecking ball?" and instead pressed her on whether she was going through "a phase? Is the sexual side of you that we're seeing something that's going to be here for a while and [then you'll] move on to something else?"
Lauer, 55, may have regretted the question, because this was the answer: "I heard when you turn 40 things start to go a little less sexual. So probably around 40, I heard that's when people don't have sex anymore. I guess maybe around then."
The interview. (App users, view the interview at newsday.com/tvzone.)
The "Today" show is staring into the future -- and Carson Daly is staring back. In a surprise on-air announcement Thursday that makes the overhaul of the program's longtime home, Studio 1A at Rockefeller Center, even more intriguing, Daly was named the latest member of the show's "family," He'll anchor a new social media component dubbed "The Orange Room."
Daly will remain host and producer of "The Voice," but "transition" out of his longtime anchor role at "Last Call." The move sparked speculation about the future of Matt Lauer, whose current contract ends over a year from now. In fact social media commenters Thursday saw Daly's arrival as the start of an on-air bake-off with Willie Geist, Lauer's presumptive heir apparent.
But it's also clear that Daly has been pressed into a more important role for the moment -- as conductor of a new social media push at "Today" meant to position it for the future, and a run at first-place "Good Morning America."
NBC said that the Orange Room, where Daly will work, will be the "nexus" between the show and its audience, where viewers "will seek out and share news."
What will all this look like? Viewers will find out Monday when the new studio is unveiled.
Daly, 40, was one of MTV's best-known VJs (mostly at "Total Request Live,") joining "Last Call" in 2002. "The Voice" is NBC's single biggest hit outside of sports.
The Not-Next-Mayor of New York, Anthony Weiner - who nonetheless continues to command all the attention of the press (go ahead, name another candidate) - sat down with "Today's" Savannah Guthrie to address the whys. ("Why you?" "Why you screw up so much?" "Why you bothering?" "Why you still have a cell phone?) The results did not help Weiner. But if this saga interests you for some reason, here's a look at the encounter, on tomorrow's edition...
Interesting and possibly remarkable news for Valerie Harper — her inoperable cancer may be in remission, which may be one reason why she'll appear (per TMZ, I think) on "Dancing with the Stars" this fall.
As you may remember, NBC signed an unusual deal with her some months ago to do a Meredith Vieira doc on her. Harper is, as you know, a TV classic, Rhoda Morgenstern. "Today" had a look at her prognosis this morning. Worth looking at: ...