Last week, “Today” welcomed former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as a guest co-host – coincidentally on the same day former “Today” anchor Katie Couric was guest-hosting rival morning show “Good Morning America.”
“[Hosts] used to be judged not just on their popularity
level but the extent to which they were capable of interviewing someone
or reporting on a situation, or able to have a degree of gravitas. Now
that is secondary to being popular,” says Gumbel.
No one would argue that Palin was entirely comfortable on “Today.” She had flashes of charisma and charm, but mostly she seemed very out of place. The show also couldn’t decide what do to with her – she wasn’t a “host.” She was interviewed by Matt Lauer, sat on the Today’s Professionals panel and hung around during Ann Curry’s segments about Tori Spelling’s party planning and Wilson Phillips new album.
But do you agree with Gumbel? Was the stunt hosting gig embarrassing?