Monday, September 10, 2012

TV Column: Couric's case of nerves on her talk show debut - Washington Post

Katie Couric’s return to daytime TV began with Katie in bed, having a nightmare. She woke up with a jolt and said to someone in the next twin bed, who was buried under the covers: “Wow! I just had the weirdest dream! I left ‘Today’ to anchor the evening news and did it for five years, and then I dreamed I was going to be hosting my own daytime talk show!”

The other person disentangled himself from the bedclothes. It was â€" Matt Lauer! Katie’s “Today” show husband! Did you see that one coming? We sure did!

More from Lisa de Moraes

Pulitzer Prize winner, Peabody recipient, Medal of Freedom honoree -- Lisa de Moraes is none of these, but she is an authority on the bad direction, over-acting, and muddled plot lines being played out in the TV industry's executive suites.


(Ida Mae Astute/DISNEY-ABC) - Couric also interviewed nine-time Grammy-winning artist Sheryl Crow in her show’s debut episode.

“That wasn’t a dream, and the talk show starts right now,” Matt said.

“It’s a new beginning for me,” Katie told her audience after a commercial break â€" now out of her jammies and in a sophisticated blue sheath and high heels. “Many of you remember I lost my husband, Jay [Monahan], to colon cancer almost 15 years ago,” Katie continued. That threw our minds back to Katie’s “Today” show Celebrity Colonoscopy lo these many years ago â€" in which she totally downplayed the horror of colonoscopy prep, but for a good cause so we’ll forgive her â€" and single-handedly caused a spike in the number of colonoscopies that year.

Katie’s daughters are still young â€" 16 and 21 â€" and they were in the audience, as was Katie’s mom. “We lost my dad just a little over a year ago. Oh, and yes â€" I turned 55 this year,” Katie said to kick things off, looking surprisingly nervous. Not Anderson Cooper-nervous, but still, surprisingly nervous for someone who was the queen of morning infotainment TV for 15 years, and who recently looked totally in her element subbing for Robin Roberts on ABC’s infotainment series “Good Morning America” a few weeks back.

“Woo-hoo!” responded the audience to news of her age.

“And I’m still single, but hope springs eternal,” she said.

Time to bring out the show’s very first guest, Jessica Simpson, to talk about how hard it has been for a girl raised on fishsticks and Mexican food to take off all those pounds after having her first baby, even with the help of a personal trainer and a Weight Watchers coach deeply invested in her success â€" because Jessica’s been signed a company spokeswoman.

On Twitter, someone wanted to know how Jessica finds the time to focus on both baby Maxwell and losing weight.

Of course, you and I know the answer is “an expensive personal trainer, a nanny to help look after the baby and a Weight Watchers coach deeply invested in her success because she’s been signed on as a company spokeswoman.

But Jessica instead went with: “I take [Maxwell] with me. . . . My new goal is 14,000 steps a day â€" it’s about seven miles. I take her along with me so I don’t have to miss her.”

Jessica told Katie that she had thought when her water broke, all the pregnancy pounds would come off.

With a straight face.

Katie plowed through her list of questions:

●How do you deal with the tabloids?

●Tell me about your relationship with food?

Jessica spoke darkly about having to track every single bite on the Weight Watchers program, and having to give up something called Slutty Brownies, which apparently consist of a layer of cookie dough, a layer of Oreo cookie and a layer of brownie.

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