Ordinarily I wouldn't have had a clue that Katie Couric was moving from NBC's Today Show to CBS News, at least not much beyond what I read on the Google News page, where this story has long ago passed the top headlines, but that was all back in the days where I was single and oblivious to all things not kitesurfing or Internet related. My fiancee on the other hand, enjoys watching the Today Show, and though we have a 3 TV house, this past week she has chosen to watch TV in our shared office area. I try to be congenial about this since the overlap from the time I get up into the office until she shuts the TV off isn't generally more than an hour. Also, given that I've been pretty religious about catching the NBA playoffs on our living room TV, which I know doesn't rank among her favorite shows, sort of requires me to be a little flexible as well.
These past two weeks however, have been brutal. It seems that every one thinks Katie is either retiring, dying or is some sort of deity who is leaving the proverbial "us". Granted, I'm not Katie, but shouldn't so much meaningless attention adorned on any one be embarassing? Especially when she's not actually going anywhere but perhaps a few buildings over to do another TV show. In all of this I'm not sure what's worse, the staged goodbyes from various celebrities and former interviewees of Katie's or being subjected to all of those wonderful people who voted Shrub…I mean Mr. President…into office, all pining over the death…I mean departure…I mean move from one network to another, of Katie. It makes you want to swallow the muzzle of a loaded .44 magnum and pull the trigger. OK, I exaggerate, the feeling is more like needing to puke.
I'm having to vent here because today being her last day on the Today Show, has been the true "piece de resistance" with more mind numbing praise than has been bestowed on Gandhi, Joseph Campbell, or other truly great people who have accomplished amazing feats for humanity. Granted, entertainers have always been subject to fandom and the excesses that come from those who worship the ground they walk on, but seeing NBC play this up reminds me that where there's fandom there's money and this is their last chance to milk the Katie cow…and they're doing it for all it's worth. I wonder how much more ad spots are costing for this show, and how much these will dip tomorrow. Imagine that, two weeks of reminding people that their idol is "going away and we will miss her", (isn't idolization against the religious and moral belief system of the very people idolizing Katie in person?…hmmm…). Well, it's been an effective marketing campaign and at least in the case of my fiancee, it has resulted in her watching every day without fail and created lasting discussions with her friends on the subject.
Fortunately, this all comes to an end today and hopefully all of these people who have been religiously showing up to see her at Rockefeller Plaza in New York will get back to having a life. More importantly, I can now get back to some sense of normalcy in my office and stop having to put on my headset to get into a space far away from Katie and her minions. On a positive note, CBS is going to get a nice viewer lift from Katie's move, but of course with all such matters, the question is for how long. If I was an executive at CBS, right about now I'd be sending my counterparts at NBC a case of champagne in thanks for building Katie up beyond her humanly existence. Not that I watch the evening news on any of the major networks, but if I did, all this has done is assured me that CBS will not be my network of choice.