"Authenticity." Remember that word and you will instantly have the one word that Meredith Vieira and NBCUniversal hope everyone remembers when her eponymous daytime show launches this fall.
With her name in the title, "hopefully that will be a reflection of my authenticity," she told TV writers at the biannual press tour in Beverly Hills, California, Monday. Viewers will "know what they're going to get." Then, a bit later she added: "They can smell a fake a mile away."
Vieira has said little to date about her next career act, "The Meredith Vieira Show" -- yet another entry in a crowded TV landscape that ruthlessly weeds out newcomers, most recently Katie Couric's talk show. She declined to even call her program a "talk show" -- "I purposely haven't been watching anything on in the day" -- even though it will clearly embrace elements from virtually all of them. There will be a leadoff segment that might, or might not, include a celebrity guest, and other segments with contests, games and music. The show will have a band, headed by Everett Bradley, who plays percussion and sings backup vocals for the E Street Band. Then there's this departure: She will try to get a service dog adopted by a member of the home audience each week.
The set at Studio 6A at 30 Rockefeller Plaza will be decorated to look like her home, and will include a favorite chair. She said viewers "are gonna feel so much better when they see my junk."
Vieira -- who left as host of the syndicated "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" last year, and ended a five-year run as co-host of "Today" in 2011 -- was asked about "The View," where she ended her successful run in 2006. Would she have been tempted to return to her old program?
"No, I knew after nine years that it was time to leave [and] I have a good sense of timing, like when to get out before something bad happens."