Call it well, we all saw this one coming version 2.0.
Directly after dropping Ann Curry from its co-hosting ranks and slapping secondary anchor Savannah Guthrie into a first-position chair, NBC's morning news talk show "Today" slipped behind ABC's "Good Morning America" in the ratings.
The drop came during the very first week that Guthrie took over for Curry and just days after the latter's painful and tearful farewell on the show.
And the slip likely is the last thing that the folks over at "Today" wanted to see happen.
According an Associated Press story citing Nielsen Co. numbers, NBC's "Today" was beaten last week by "GMA" by 357,000 viewers. The ABC show drew an average of 4.57 million viewers, compared with 4.21 million for "Today," the largest lead by "GMA" over its rival in more than 17 years, while extending its top-ranked status to three consecutive weeks.
Yes, Guthrie is cute as a button and a solid interviewer. But this viewer longs for another Meredith Vieira type to fill the role (actually, for Vieira herself to return). Vieira sat beside head host Matt Lauer before Curry took over after her departure. She was smart, engaging, bitingly funny when appropriate and one strong cookie. She and Lauer were fabulous together.
I'm not jumping ship to "GMA" I still prefer the "Today" team. But I'm not surprised that some viewers decided to check out what was going on over on a different network.
It's too bad for the 40-year-old Guthrie. She's in real danger of becoming this millennium's Deborah Norville, who was categorically rejected by "Today" show viewers in 1991 after she took over for Jane Pauley.
"We are incredibly confident in the new 'Today' anchor team," executive producer Jim Bell said in the AP story. "Although it's premature to look at one week of unofficial numbers and draw any conclusions, we just made a big change that we didn't take lightly, and we are in this for the long run."
We'll just have to wait and see about that one.
I've never been a fan of most country music save an odd affinity for Waylon Jennings and the occasional too-catchy-to- dislike country hit.
Well, OK, if we're being all open and everything, the "Urban Cowboy" soundtrack, too.
But there was a period a dozen years ago or so that found me watching CMT videos oh, what?! pretty much every evening after dinner.
All this came back to me in a bout of sweet nostalgia while looking at a list of hit songs by country mainstay Alan Jackson, who plays next week at Stockton Arena (see Page E-16).
Once upon a time, my son was a wee toddler with a mommy who would come home from work each night to clean the house, bath him, feed him and spend time playing chase and tickles and whatever else was on his impromptu baby agenda for the evening. As he would wind down before bedtime, I'd collapse into an exhausted puddle of goo on the couch with him on my lap and resort to much-needed sedentary entertainment via the TV.
But evening TV for a toddler wasn't really all that fab back then. He still was too young to appreciate the Power Rangers and I hadn't yet come to accept some of the more bizarre kiddie cartoons options (I'm talking to you, "Teletubbies"). Sure, I'd personally have preferred videos on VH-1 or MTV or even Fuse. But the latest by, say Eminem didn't especially feel like positive mother-son time.
So I'd flip on CMT and get my reluctant cowboy on.
And, to be honest, I actually started appreciating the genre for a while, anyway.
Among my son's favorite songs was inappropriately, given the subject matter "Pop a Top" by Alan Jackson. This song ran a close second to Toby Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now," which he would jump off my lap and scream along with the chorus to in front of the television.
Yes, it was wildly adorable.
And I still can hear my little guy's voice sing-songing along with Jackson "pop a top, again ... set 'em up, my fa-wend ... ."
OK, so a beer-drinking tune was not exactly the right choice for a toddler, but he had no idea what the lyrics meant. It was better than Eminem, OK?
He just liked the tune. And I got a needed break.
Funny, it felt like a break then, but really, it turned out to be among some of the best bonding moments I've had with my son over the years. And among the most cherished of memories.
So I guess I'll always have a soft spot for Jackson; Toby Keith, too. Country music or not.
Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at email@example.com