‘Today’ Turns 70: Where are 10 of Its Former Hosts Now?

Jim Hartz, Deborah Norville, Hugh Downs, Bryant Gumbel, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw, Meredith Vieira, and Jane Pauley on 'Today' in 2012
Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Jim Hartz, Deborah Norville, Hugh Downs, Bryant Gumbel, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw, Meredith Vieira, and Jane Pauley on 'Today' in 2012

Seventy years ago, NBC took the bold step of going live with a morning news TV program called Today, which broadcast from its “world communication center in the heart of Radio City, New York.” In that first episode — airing on January 14, 1952 — inaugural host David Garroway welcomed viewers to a program that “begins a new kind of television.”

He was certainly right about that. Despite widespread skepticism about early-morning TV, Today pioneered a new genre, with what producer Pat Weaver conceived of as an “electronic newspaper,” as CNN’s Brian Stelter reported in the 2013 book Top of the Morning.

“We cannot and should not try to build a show that will make people sit down in front of their set and divert their attention to the screen,” Weaver once wrote in a memo. “We want America to shave, to eat, to dress, to get to work on time. But we also want America to be well informed, amused, to be lightened in spirit and in heart, and to be reinforced in inner resolution through knowledge.”

Weaver also wanted to show “a rise-and-shine personality,” and over the last 70 years, the show has had plenty of those! In honor of Today’s latest milestone anniversary, here are updates on 10 of the show’s former hosts.

Barbara Walters

Walters retired from her TV career in 2014, after creating The View and starring on that ABC daytime talk show for 17 seasons. She reportedly hasn’t made a public appearance since 2016, but in 2020, Walters’ rep told Us Weekly the former 20/20 host is “doing just fine.”

Tom Brokaw

Brokaw retired from NBC News after 55 years in 2021, with the news division noting that he’s the only anchor who has anchored all three of its flagship programs: Today, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press. He’s still in the media, though: Last month, he wrote a Washington Post perspective on the death of Bob Dole. (In 2018, two women accused Brokaw of sexual harassment, allegations that he has denied.)

Jane Pauley

Pauley started contributing to CBS Sunday Morning in 2014 and became the program’s anchor in 2016, marking her first regular hosting gig in more than a decade and one she still holds today. “It just feels so comfortable, so right,” she told TV Insider in 2016.

Bryant Gumbel

Gumbel remains the host of Real Sports, an HBO series that has earned 33 Sports Emmy Awards, including 19 for Outstanding Sports Journalism, since its 1995 debut. The show has been covering a number of topical issues recently, from the long-term effects of athletes dealing with COVID-19 and the obstacles facing women in the male-dominated sports journalism industry.

Deborah Norville

Norville has hosted the syndicated newsmagazine Inside Edition since 2015. She has also gotten involved behind the camera, serving as executive producer on last year’s Lifetime movie The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice.

Chris Wallace

Wallace announced his retirement from Fox News Sunday last month, capping off an 18-year stint moderating the Fox News program. Next up for him is a job at the upcoming streaming service CNN+, on which he’ll host a weekday interview show, CNN reports.

Katie Couric

Couric returned to the limelight last year with her two-week gig guest-hosting Jeopardy! and her tell-all Going There, the latter of which detailed her time at Today and the program’s rivalry with Good Morning America. (In one passage, she wrote that she “loved” getting under the skin of then-GMA host Diane Sawyer.)

Meredith Vieira

Vieira is now three seasons into 25 Words or Less, the syndicated game show she hosts and enjoys, even when she has to do the job from home to social distance. (“There was something so cool to go to the studio in L.A. and being with folks in a studio and interacting on a personal and physical level,” she told TV Insider in 2020. “There is no substitute for that.”)

Ann Curry

Curry is the host of the TNT/TBS medical-mystery docuseries Chasing the Cure, the first season of which aired in 2019. She has also been teaching virtual journalism classes at American University in Washington, D.C., with course material on war correspondence, ethics, and credibility, per KGW.

Natalie Morales

Morales left Today last October and joined The Talk as a full-time panelist later that month. “It’s always exciting and new to start something different, and I love this new adventure that we’re all going to be taking together,” she told viewers at the time.

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