On Wednesday evening, American journalist and television personality Meredith Vieira returned to "Piers Morgan Tonight" bringing along her patented blend of humor and candor, as well as a keen eye towards avoiding any of the host's typical traps.
Nearly a year-and-a-half since leaving her role as co-host of "Today," Piers Morgan insinuated that Vieira's departure can be directly linked to the NBC program's recent decline in ratings:
"The general feeling, Meredith, is that since the moment you left 'The Today Show,' it's all gone to hell in a hand cart," said the "Piers Morgan Tonight" host.
The seasoned media veteran, though, did not take the bait:
"Obviously things happen. There are ups and downs for shows. And right now, 'Today Show,' where I was and I love and I hope to do more pieces with them - obviously that's - my heart and soul is with NBC," said Vieira, who remains a contributor and special correspondent for the network. "Going through more of a difficult time than we did a few years ago. But we will be fine. We certainly will."
Pointing out recent leadership changes at 30 Rockefeller Place, Morgan's guest expressed the fullest confidence in the future of the show:
"Don Nash was just named executive producer. He is fantastic," said Vieira. "They have a great team in Savannah [Guthrie] and Matt [Lauer]. They are fantastic and Natalie [Morales]. They are great. And Al [Roker.]. They don't need me for sure."
Pressing the issue, Morgan implied that the 56-year-old mother of three is secretly taking pleasure in her old program's struggles:
"It must be quietly satisfying. Even though I know you love the show and the people there. It must be satisfying to know that you were clearly that popular," Morgan insisted.
"But it has nothing to do with me. That's not the case," said Vieira, expertly dodging the pitfalls Morgan had set.
Watch the clips, and listen to the interview, as Morgan compares Vieira and her former colleague Lauer, to John Lennon and Paul McCartney of "The Beatles," going so far to identify which is "the pretty one."
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