The Host with the Roast: Lauer to get taunted mercilessly by Couric, Vieira

Meredith and Katie, it’s so on. The two have signed on to skewer Westchester native Matt Lauer at the annual Friars Club Roast in NYC on October 24, according to People Mag. matt-lauer-roast.jpgWhile I’m not exactly sure what kind of roastmaster Al Roker will be, I’m already envisioning Katie taking Matt to task for his “glib” understanding of psychiatry and, for that matter, Scientology.

Couric: No, Matt. Here’s the problem.  You don’t know the history of psychiatry.  I do.

Vieira: And if you understand the history of it, it masks the problem.  That’s what it does.  That’s all it does.  You’re not getting to the reason why.

Couric: Matt.  Matt, Matt, you don’t even — you’re glib.

Vieira:  Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt …

Ah, good times. Takes me back.

Anyway, Lauer’s plan for the evening, according to what he said to the AP:

“I fully plan to, like, bring an iPod in my sport jacket and run the headsets up to where they can’t see it into my ears so I won’t even hear half of it.”

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

CBS is going to improve Katie Couric’s ratings or make her die trying

tjndc5-5gb8f404wfmj7lha27m_layout.jpgRemember when Katie said she didn’t think it was necessary to don a flack jacket and head to Iraq to prove her bona fides and boost ratings? Turns out her new uber-producer, Rick Kaplan, thinks she does.

Next week, the CBS Evening News anchor will celebrate her one year anniversary on the job by reporting from Syria and then Iraq on a “high-risk tour,” according to Variety. Her last trip overseas was back in November when she accompanied President Bush to Amman, Jordan (which is less bomb-y than Iraq but still not exactly the Upper West Side).

Couric’s entourage will be skeletal, according to the newspaper–just Kaplan, D.C. bureau chief Christopher Isham, and editor Jerry Cipriano. The group leaves today and will spend the next week reporting before she begins broadcasting live on September 4th.

Kaplan says Couric’s presence has helped land high-level interviews with “reclusive politicians and alleged terror leaders.”
Couric is a single mother of two and has said in the past that that role would color her decision when it comes to taking risky assignments.

One side benefit of the 12-day trip: Couric will be out of the country while author Edward Klein hits the media circuit to tout his inflammatory “tell-all” about the anchor, which the Washington Post summed up thusly yesterday:

<blockquote><div>She’s conniving and self-absorbed and ungrateful. And shallow. And into younger men. And older men. She makes too much money, and she yelled at her husband. And she’s had work done. And she’s liberal. And she was mean to Ann Curry. . . . </div></blockquote>

(AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

Blaming Katie Couric on Judge Judy: Have you no shame?

tjndc5-5dssyv8wno11ecp0gfgg_layout.jpgSometimes the business of TV is complicated—Nielsen ratings, sweeps, Q scores, demographics, advertising revenue—it’s a stew of equations, speculation, and people with MBAs who are supposed to know what they’re talking about. But even for us remedial dolts, this equation was supposed to be easy enough to understand:

Judge Judy + Katie Couric = ka-ching ka-ching

And yet, somehow, something went horribly wrong. In the NY Times this morning, Jacques Steinberg, the busiest man on the TV beat, breaks it down for us: At the same time the network was agreeing to pay Couric $15 million a year to take over the Evening News, they were doling out “several million dollars more� to Judge Judy, coaxing her syndicated show from New York’s NBC affiliate to CBS’s.

The dirty little secret of network news, you see, is even though the faces behind the desk tend to get the blame and/or glory, as any network exec will tell you, it’s all about the lead-in. Oprah of course is the queen and she keeps those eyeballs glued to the stations she airs on (mainly ABC affiliates). But Judge Judy, one of the highest paid women in entertainment, earns her salary for similar reasons. The only problem is, in this case, things didn’t work out that way. Steinberg explains:

<blockquote><div>“’Judge Judy,’ featuring Judy Sheindlin, has kept up her end of the bargain, raising WCBS’s ratings between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. by more than 10 percent.
But ratings for the half hour of local news that precedes Ms. Couric’s program in New York remain virtually identical to last year at this time. And not only has Ms. Couric received none of the intended bounce, her viewership is actually down slightly in New York, compared to a year ago, when Bob Schieffer was occupying the same desk.” </div></blockquote>
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)