Meredith Viera Talks Life After “Today,” “Millionaire” Contestants And More
Journalist, TV personality, and game show host Meredith Viera, best known for her roles as the original moderator of ABC talk show “The View,” former co-host of NBC’s morning news program, “Today,” and current host of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” called in to chat with Jim & Kim In the Morning about what life is like after the Today show and to spill some behind the scenes gossip about Millionaire.
Meredith recently left her long running role on NBC’s Today show, back in June of 2011. When asked if she misses her Today co-host Matt Lauer, she jokingly responded “Matt? Who’s Matt? I am so OVER that LOSER!”
Aside from her spot as mediator on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Meredith is currently a contributor to Dateline NBC and is a correspondent on the new Rock Center with Brian Williams — among numerous other projects that she now has time to focus on.
“I’ve been actually very busy, believe it or not” she says. “Because all the things that I couldn’t do when I was doing the Today show, I committed to… a lot of it is charity work and then suddenly you look at your calendar and everyday you’re doing something. But it’s been wonderful.”
“I’ve got my production company up and running, which has also been great. We had a film that came out and a documentary. We’re plugging away.”
It has been almost a year since Meredith left the Today show and no longer has to keep those crazy morning show hours in order to prepare. But that doesn’t mean waking up early an easy habit to break.
“You realize what a number that schedule does on you, once you’re off it” Meredith says. “But it’s hard to re-adjust your clock. I’m still not sleeping on a regular time period. Some days I’m up at four in the morning, sometimes I’m up at nine. It really varies.”
Luckily Who Wants To Be A Millionaire allows for some of that much needed shut-eye.
This past week was American Pride week on Millionaire.
“It was great. We had Firefighters (who did very well) teachers, members of the military… the spirit in the studio was fantastic.” Meredith continued “We had Olympians and they raised $35,000 for the USOC to help our athletes… money that is really well needed.”
The Olympics talk reminded Meredith of an ongoing dream she’s had. Every summer Olympics, Meredith fantasizes that she’s an Olympian: “It’s always gymnastics, I always win the gold medal. I do the whole thing, it’s pathetic” she says. “I do floor exercises extremely well (in my head).”
Auditions for the upcoming 11th season of Millionaire are coming to NYC in May. Meredith says that if you want to practice, you should try out their Facebook game. “Those are the kinds of questions that you’re going to hear on the show” she says. “And it’s fun. I actually played one day and I won a million dollars, excuse me!”
Speaking of contestants… there have been a few that have come across the Millionaire stage that Meredith will never forget. Case in point: that handsome Navy pilot from season one, Max Shuman.
“Everybody teases me about a military guy, from the Navy” who was on during the first season, she says. “He was just really cute and I just kind of forgot. I forgot where I was, I forgot I was married! We were just having a good time.”
Another contestant that Meredith will never forget was not as cute. Meredith recalls, “You know, the contestants get so nervous. And [a woman] peed on the chair!”
“We don’t have the chair anymore.”
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