On Meredith Vieira's last day, 'Today' staffers promise her they won't stop believin'

When the Today team finally said goodbye to co-anchor Meredith Vieira this morning while wearing custom “We Heart Meredith” t-shirts, there wasn’t a dry eye in or around Rockefeller Plaza. But before the last tearful tributes began, viewers were treated to a two-hour Viva Vieira sendoff that included plenty of highlight montages (remember when Miss Piggy questioned whether Meredith had the chops for the job?), commendations from the likes of Jack Black and Jay Leno, a special performance by Carole King (she sang “You’ve Got a Friend,” naturally), and a choreographed lipsynch to a certain Journey classic.

At the tail end of the broadcast, Matt Lauer and Vieira were sitting at a piano in the studio when a familiar tune began to play. Soon, Meredith was being led from the studio to the control room to the plaza, as her colleagues let loose with their best Steve Perry impressions. Jimmy Fallon and Abe Vigoda, of all people, showed up to play some pretend guitar and give a much-needed high-five, respectively. (In case you were wondering: Abe Vigoda is not dead yet.) Video of the performance isn’t yet available online, but you can read a rundown of it at Today‘s website.

Once the song was over, though, things got a little more serious. Each anchor in turn told Meredith how much he or she loved her. Matt Lauer’s tribute was particularly touching. He confessed to Meredith that he was tempted to default to sarcasm while talking about her, then admitted that that was only because he was “afraid that if I really tell you how I feel, I’m going to turn into a blubbering idiot.” Aww, look who’s not being glib!

In the end, a choked-up Meredith admitted that she didn’t want to leave after all. Unfortunately, though, she had no choice: “They changed the lock on my dressing room!” See the final fond farewells in the clip below.

Were you sorry to see Meredith go, PopWatchers? What did you think of the Today crew’s dance moves? And how great were Hoda and Kathie Lee’s “Wine Lovers Heart Meredith” shirts?


Comments (101 total) Add your comment
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  • Daily

    Why was her last day a Wednesday?

    • Tia

      SHe wants to spend time with her family. Her husband has been suffering with MS for over 20 years and while he is still able to do alot she wants to be with him. I undestand my sister has MS and when it hits you hard you can be down for the count. My sister is 45 in a nuring home.

      • Tia

        Also – She is travleing with the family this weekend for graduation events. Thats why it is a wkday.

      • Tom

        I think Daily wanted to know why it was a Wednesday, that is what he said after all.

      • Melissa Ramos

        Well, he already can’t do a lot. He’s legally blind and spends most of his time in a wheelchair.

      • Zach

        Being legally blind is frustrating but doesn’t men anything, necessarily. Just means contacts and glasses. I don’t know why people take that to mean blind.

    • NKinMonroe

      How will I walk on my treadmill without you! Love you Meredith — all the best to you!

    • SantaClaws

      Does it really matter what day of the week it is? C’mon….seriously?

  • Benoreno

    I will miss Meredith dearly. I understand she wants to spend more time with her family and I wish her well. It seems like NBC has left the door open for her to do projects with them in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s at the Olympics in London next year. Godspeed Meredith. I’ll miss your professionalism, humor, grace and your interaction with Matt, Al, Ann and Natalie. My mornings won’t be the same without your smile.

  • sly

    love her … looking forward to seeing her next adventure!

  • kathgal

    This to me was the ‘anti-Oprah-style’ farewell. It was more touching and intimate, and I could relate to that better then ‘wow, look at how many stars we can invite!’.

    • Rob

      Yes, exactly! It was so touching to see how much the entire crew loved Meredith. I admit that I was really teary-eyed watching it. My family will miss seeing her every morning.

    • MsSuniDaze

      Totally! I was thinking THIS is how to do a goodbye. It was very sweet. You can tell how genuinely touched she was. Plus…Oprah didn’t have Abe Vigoda!

    • bringbackrocky

      Well said and completely on point.

    • Zach

      Don’t hate (ok, you’re not really hating). But seriously, Oprah’s was epic. Oprah is a one-woman show, so nothing was missed by having a star-studded 2-day event. Plus, she had already recounted her greatest episodes and brought back several of her favorite guests over the last several episodes. And her actual last show was the epitome of intimate and touching. Just saying. (But yes, Abe Vigoda was noticeably absent.)

  • welshgirl

    i heart meredith too! but good luck to ann curry

  • Mr. Burns

    Plesase; she was on the air for 5 years. Stop trying to make everything some big melodramatic deal. It’s not like Carson leaving the Tonight Show, or when Katie left the Today show after 15 years.

    • LP

      Meredith has been on the air for many years, first with The View, now with Today. I think people are saying they will miss seeing her on air in general, not just on the Today Show.

      • Tom

        Exactly.

    • Jim R.

      Mr. Burns in answer to your comment, Sure it is.

    • meanjean

      Thank You! Much ado about nothing, or 5 short years. Now Johnny Carson, I remember his last show. He was an entertainer worthy of all of the hoopla.

    • vcrozas

      Five and 1/2..years and I remember Johnny’s last show too. Hoopla can go to those that EARN it. Obviously neither you or I have….or so it seems to me. Personally I respect her & wish her the very best.

    • ItsMe

      I agree. I thought Ann should be the co-anchor when Katie left. I was never impressed with Meredith, actually my viewership dropped.

  • Mar

    Really going to miss her as well. What a kind woman she is…god bless Meredith…

  • Dolphin2955

    Meredith left today because her youngest daughter is graduating from high school tomorrow and her oldest son is graduating from college this weekend.

    • Daily

      Makes sense…thanks!

      • Emery

        And shows how important her family is to her, which is why she’s leaving in the first place.

      • @emery

        I don’t understand the timing – so her kids are grown and she’s leaving to be with them?

  • Natasha

    I think it is touching that the Today Family gave her a nice farewell send off!! This speaks to our basic nature…humans showing compassion for each other. And I also like the fact that IN this day & age of recession, bad economy, no longevity, etc…that an employer shows that 5 years does matter and that you are considered a “member of the family”.

  • sassyfras

    Classy lady. Best wishes to her in future ventures!

  • Barbara Guilliams

    I will sure miss Meridith. The fact that they gave her such a huge and wonderful sendoff after “only” 5 years shows how much they loved her and hated for her to leave! It was a terrific sendoff especially the running song. She’ll be missed! Good luck and God bless you, Meredith!

  • GEO

    MEREDITTH WILL BE MISSED, SHE DID A GREAT JOB!! ANN CURRY IS THE VERY BEST REPLACMENT TO BE CHOSEN -BRAVO TO WHOMEVER MADE THAT JUDGEMENT CALL !!!!!!!!!

  • KikiD

    Meh. Won’t miss her all that much. TV anchors are easily replaced although Ann Curry is going to drag the ratings down to 2nd place fairly quickly. She’s their weakest link

    • keisha

      I agree. Ann is nice but she is TERRIBLE.

      • Frank

        Ann is a mess…

      • dianne

        Agreed – Ann is not a good choice. I admit she has paid her dues, but I can’t stand her when she is a fill-in. I might have to switch to GMA….

      • George

        Can I ask why you guys don’t like Ann? I think promoting her to Meredith’s spot and Natalie to full time news desk will be a positive for the show, not a negative!

      • Sherri

        Ann willo never have the easy interaction with matt and others that Meredith had. Also, when she does an interview, she does most of the talking and hardly lets the guest way anything. I predict that the ratings will slide with Ann.

    • Sadie

      Ann excels at human interest pieces where her compassion and humanitarianism can shine. She lacks some of the hard edge needed to deliver some of the tougher interviews and stories, which Meredith had in spades. Not that I think Meredith isn’t compassionate, it’s just that she seems to have more of the journalistic grit than Ann. I’m going to miss the playful reparte between Matt and Meredith.

      • deedee

        Ann is condescending and grating; will no longer watch Today

      • George

        Interesting, feel that Ann’s rapport with Matt is much more natural and warm that Matt’s with Meredith. Meredith seemed a touch vacant at times, where Ann really dives into whatever story she is telling, whether it be goofy, serious, or sad. I think in a morning-news anchor, some levity and variation is a good thing, which Ann possesses in gross.

      • Larry

        Did you see Meredith’s interview with Donald Trump about the whole Obama birth certificate issue? There was no journalistic grit in that segment, just buying everything he said without challenging it. But Meredith will be missed, because I think she is a genuine person, and I believe Ann is as well.

  • Diana

    I understand it’s Ann’s time but I bet NBC wishes they could bring Maria Shriver on now that Maria is available.

    • This

      This

  • Geoff

    I’ll miss watching her in the morning – she was GREAT!

    • Carole

      Meredith V. has served her time in journalism, tv, and decided to spend some quality time with her family. Life is short and fading and the moments now spent with her family will be a blessing. She stepped into the Today Show after Katie left and there were doubters then, but she proved she could do the job. As for Ann, she is special and has the capabilities of doing a great job. I love that she has so much compassion and that comes across in her on air interviews and her global travels. It is now Ann’s time to shine, and with the support of her family, friends, co-anchors, and viewers she will do just fine! Thanks for the memories Meredith, your time has come as you were faithful over many things.

      • Ethel

        I have always liked Meredith. I watch the Today show because of her. I wish Meredith well and I agree with Carol about Ann Curry having compassion. Carol, by the way, your message was very well written.

      • vcrozas

        Ethel and Carole I agree with you!

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