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A flashy farewell on 'Today' for Vieira

They liked her. They really liked her.

In fact, they liked her so much that maybe she should stay.

Ask yourself this: When or if you leave your company after five years, will your bosses deploy a cast of hundreds, accessorized in bright orange shirts emblazoned with your name in bold letters, to serenade you to "Don't Stop Believin' "? Will Abe Vigoda turn up to sort-of-dance with you? Will Carole King be there to prove that "you've got a friend"? Will Jimmy Fallon play air guitar?

No, they won't, but then you are not Meredith Vieira whose "Today" show tenure ended Wednesday morning.

Did "Today" possibly overdo that Cecille B. DeMille-style goodbye to an anchor who (after all) has only been around 1,800-or-so days? When Bryant Gumbel (15 years) left, he got a private performance by Prince and a peck on the cheek from Katie Couric. When Couric (15 years) exited, she and viewers got clips of her most memorable moments.

Wednesday was, in fact, a fun, tongue-embedded-in-cheek, broad wink and homage to the other great cultural excesses of our age, notably "Glee" and Oprah Winfrey's farewell tour.

Winfrey got Beyoncé. Vieira got Det. Fish from "Barney Miller."

It was -- in other words -- perfect.

Lauer genuinely likes Vieira, repeating Wednesday what he recently told the press, that she was his favorite on-air partner. "I adore you," he said. "You've taught us all how to be great teammates."

"I loved working with you -- most of you," said Vieira, who is leaving to spend time with her family.

(Vigoda? An inside joke. Vieira once showed viewers a picture of the man whom Lauer will look like in four years.)


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