A Potential "Million"
Dollar Decision (or "Who Wants to Be the Host of
- April 7
The biggest news in game shows this week didn't happen
in game shows directly. Katie Couric, co-anchor of the
"Today" show on NBC, announced on Wednesday that she
would be leaving the chair she sat in for 15 years to
become the lead anchor at the CBS Evening News. She is
leaving the show in May.
But what makes this story newsworthy is the lead
candidate to replace her. That would be Emmy winning
game show hostess Meredith Vieira. Vieira, a capable
newswoman in her own right, would leave the ABC show
"The View" and become the show's anchor in September of
This leads to the $1,000,000 question. IF she becomes
the lead anchor(and speculation says she there is a 4
yr/$40,000,000 deal on the table) ,will she give up the
Millionaire gig and should she?
In my opinion, the answer is YES. Having "The View"
right next to ABC Studios and having Millionaire be a
compliment on her resume is a good thing. The "Today"
gig is a giant step up. I do not think she will want to
get up at 4AM, do a 3 hour show and then prepare for 4
shows a day for another 6 months out of the year. I
smell a buy out of her Millionaire contract.
This could be the biggest jump in her career. She got
royally screwed by CBS when she wanted a family and she
was frozen out of "60 Minutes". She was hired in 1989 by
CBS to be on "60 Minutes" but by 1991 she was gone. She
isn't going to make that same mistake again.
Unfortunately, for us she will be gone from Millionaire
sooner than we want her to be. But I believe for her
career, her final answer will be "goodbye."
One of the big news items this week is that Meredith
Vieira will be leaving The View and will be going to
'The Today Show'. on NBC. The price for the move? Forty
million dollars and a much higher profiled gig. The
cost, however, could be that she may have to relinquish
being the hostess of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"
As of the writing of this column, none of us have any
idea if she is actually going to do this, but my gut
reaction is that she shouldn't. She may not be missing
the money should she leave Valleycrest, but she may be
giving up a lot more.
Meredith Vieira, in the years that she has done the
show, has set the field for female game show hosts. We
have seen Paula Poundstone, Elayne Boosler, Kennedy and
even Betty White try their hand at the medium, but
Vieira is the first female to achieve the success in the
form of 4 seasons at the helm. She has also won not only
awards but the hearts of game show fans everywhere for
her masterful hosting style.
Not only would she be giving that up, but Vieira would
also be giving up a piece of cult fandom by completely
crossing over from the world of the exciting game show
to the world of the mundane early morning show. Sure,
she would be familiar and famous, but she would not have
that rabid fandom - something that Regis Philbin never
had until Millionaire, or Phil Keoghan before the
Amazing Race, or Anderson Cooper before The Mole. All of
the aforementioned were or still are in their own
daytime or news programs, so there's no reason why
Meredith couldn't do the same.
Before Meredith says that it is her final answer on
leaving Millionaire, she should think about what she
would be giving up. There would be no reason to not try
a Double Dip and get everything accomplished. The move
to stick around could be a million dollar save for not
only the WWTBAM franchise, but to her own legacy as
We've all been around
here long enough to know that anytime none of the
singers sing well, especially for a stretch of time, the
Chaos Theory rears it's ugly head and sends someone home
that shouldn't be going at that time. We also all know
that the problem with writing this column before the
Tuesday show is that those performances, which is such a
huge factor in deciding who goes and who doesn't, don't
come into play yet. For instance, after I saw Mandisa's
lackluster effort, I immediately stuck her into the
Trouble Section. That being said, neither myself or my
colleagues thought that she was going to be out. This is
the reason that we always put up the disclaimer assuming
that people are actually going to show up and sing,
because when they don't...well...this happens.
As always, the point of this column is to look at said
trend and figure out what everything means. This column
will be filled with the opinions of Grandma Pepper this
week, as she was pretty on the money. So lets see what
last week means for this week coming up...
public was shocked when you left. SHOCKED! I wasn't as
much, and neither was Grandma Pepper. She loves Mandisa
- but she didn't vote for her this week, because she
thought that Mandisa was not only not that good, but she
felt alienated by her selections of gospel for the past
few weeks. I have to agree with her. Mandisa has one of
the best voices, but her song selection was fatal. Let's
look at her song choices...
Week #1 - Never - Heart
Week #2 - Cry - Faith Hill
Week #3 - I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan
Week #4 - Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing - Stevie Wonder
Nice song choices. Nice mix of Country and R&B with
famous tunes sung by well known singers. (Of course, she
HAD to do Stevie on Week #4, but who's counting?) Now we
Week #5 - I Don't Hurt Anymore - Dinah Washington
Week #6 - Wanna Praise You - Mary Mary
Week #7 - Any Man of Mine - Shania Twain
Has anyone heard of those songs before she sang them? I
didn't, and I certainly consider myself a music buff.
Even more importantly, most of the voting audience
didn't, and I sense that it's one of the reasons why
Mandisa went bye-bye. Another one is that 2 of those
songs were gospel, which caters to a much smaller
audience base than Rock, Pop or Country, and you simply
won't win if you try to get that audience Vs. a country
audience. Now before I get e-mail saying that Week #5
was 50's night, let me point out that Paris, in
contrast, did 'Fever', a song that was remade by Madonna
and that the voting audience certainly has heard of.
That's a big reason why Paris is still in the
competition and Mandisa is not.
So who does this help?
Taylor is now the man to beat? Well, no, but he's the
biggest beneficiary of this. Grandma Pepper points out
that she considers Taylor R&B, and when you see what he
does, I'll have to agree. Based on the fact that Lisa
and Mandisa SHOULD have gotten some of the departing
Lisa Wilson's vote, yet they both dropped into the
Bottom 3, it appears that the R&B contingency went to
somewhere else - and that somewhere else is Taylor.
Assuming that Mandisa's votes go the same way, you now
have Taylor as a legitimate dark horse to win the whole
probably not going to get Mandisa's votes, but he did
show up and deliver to Simon's challenge, pulling off a
country song very well. I also think that this week's
Queen Theme fits right in his wheelhouse. Assuming that
he does not pull a Constantine Maroulis and starts
kicking things like he's performing Nickelback, he's
good to go for next week.
when Kellie, Chris and Taylor were all in the same
group? I don't think it's a fluke. Like her or not,
Pickler has a stranglehold on the country vote, and
should she not fall apart on those interviews, or on
Queen Week, she's got Final 4 written all over her. Even
if she should screw up on Queen Week, her fans should
bail her out - and I suspect that someone is going to
screw up worse than she does.
Pepper also thinks that Katharine, who sings in the same
style that Mandisa does, will also get some of her vote.
I have to agree with that, and the fact that she was one
of the better singers on Tuesday certainly will help her
longevity on the show. Now can she follow that up and
pick up some more of that vote?
have not been singing well and like Mandisa, your choice
of songs have also been weird. The only good thing is
that your supporters, who now know you are in trouble,
will be voting to save your hide. Now you have to sing
like you need their votes, because you do...desperately.
fact that 2 R&B singers are in the bottom three in a
show that's rich in R&B leads me to believe that you did
not get the Lisa Tucker vote. That's going to be a
problem, because I don't expect you to get the Mandisa
vote either. However, that was also your first time in
the Bottom Three, and I expect your voters to come out
and vote like mad to keep you in it. Like Elliott,
though, you better deliver.
did a good job this past week, so why are you this low?
Because Elliott is in the bottom, and the votes going to
him are going to be the same ones taken from you. The
only good thing for you is that you, with the
Constantine factor going on, you should be able to do a
nice performance and remind people that they need to
vote for you too. Just make sure, like Chris, that you
don't wind up kicking things either.
are a lot of things going against you this week. Elliott
and Paris's people know that they have to call in. Ace
and Chris are probably going to do bang up jobs, Queen
is probably not going to be your strong suit, and the
week after a Chaos Theory elimination, the voters start
voting for talent and against who they think caused the
mess to begin with. This week, that person is you. You
either need to wow us all and shock the world, or you
need to sing so badly and put yourself in such peril
that the Bucky-philes know that you need votes. I don't
see either happening, and I see you leaving.
three people least likely to hear 'We Are The Champions'
will be the loser between Katharine and Paris (Probably
Paris), The Loser between Ace and Elliott (Probably Ace)
and Bucky. The person most likely to hear 'Another One
Bites the Dust' next week should be
Bucky, but if no one decides to
then we may have another
surprise. We'll see who the show no longer goes on for
Gordon Pepper and Jason Block both wouldn't mind
inheriting the host seat. Vote for either at