After earning a degree from Tufts University, Meredith Vieira began a career in the media with a job as a radio personality for a station in Massachusetts. She made her way to television, rising through a series of bigger and bigger local markets until she found a steady job at the network owned and operated WCBS in New York. She began appearing on television programs such as West 57th and 60 Minutes, leading to an offer to change networks from ABC. She accepted that job, becoming a regular contributor to Turning Point, a show that was canceled in 1997. Vieira landed on her feet, however, as a co-host of the Barbara Walters-hosted morning talk show The View. Her popularity rose steadily, eventually leading to a stint hosting the daytime syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In 2006, she was tapped to replace Katie Couric as the host of The Today Show on NBC. She stayed on the signature morning show for five years, stepping down in 2011 when she was replaced by Ann Curry.
Biography by Perry Seibert
- Became a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York in 1979; in 1982, went national as a Chicago-based reporter for CBS News. It was in Chicago that she met her husband, Richard Cohen, who was a producer for The CBS Evening News.
- Was one of the hosts of CBS's newsmagazine West 57th, which debuted in 1985, and won four Emmys for her work on the program..
- Asked to pose nude by Playboy magazine in 2000; she said no.
- Became host of the syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2002; set a record for hosting more episodes of a game show than any other woman.
- On April 2, 2003, she made her one-night-only Broadway debut as an "honorary cast member" in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.
- In 2009, Jay Leno joked in a monologue that her long career included a stint on Naked News (the segment included her head graphically edited onto someone else's body); she played along and said it was "just one month" when she saw the piece on Today.
- Accidentally cursed during a live segment of Today in 2010.