For over 65 years, the “Today” Show has been bringing America the latest and greatest news on politics, business, media, entertainment, and sports. Along with the changing times came different hosts, each one bringing a unique personality to the broadcast. With such a fun plethora of reporters over time, there have been some pretty memorable moments on the show. Here are some of the most unforgettable moments of “Today.”
Tom Cruise Insults Matt Lauer During Interview, 2005
In June 2005, Matt Lauer sat down for an interview with movie star, Tom Cruise. The interview seemed to be going well when it suddenly took a bad turn. The interview that was supposed to be about Cruise’s newest movie, but it switched to a debate about antidepressants and psychiatry. Cruise called Lauer a “glib” and said he should “be a little more responsible” with his job. The two made peace a few years later.
Katie Couric Gets A Colonoscopy Live, 2000
In 1998, Katie Couric lost her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer. He was only 42-years-old. Since then, Couric had been an advocate of preemptive screenings and tests. In order to truly show her passion for the cause, in March 2000, Couric underwent her first ever colonoscopy live on-air. Studies have shown that this actually caused an increase in colonoscopy rates.
Ann Curry’s Tearful Goodbye, 2012
In June 2012, after working on “Today” for 15 years, Ann Curry departed from the show. Alongside her fellow co-anchors, such as Matt Lauer, Curry tearfully said: “I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but man I did try.” However, a book released by Brian Stelter, in 2014, titled “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” revealed that Curry had actually been bullied by colleagues and her last months on the show “a form of professional torture.”
Channeling The Force For Halloween, 2009
The cast of “Today” always dresses up for Halloween. However, 2009 was their best costume to date. All of the hosts dressed as a character from the “Star Wars” films. This year was extra special as George Lucas even donated real props from the film and even an 8-foot-tall Chewbacca.
Paula Deen Emotionally Defends Herself, 2013
In 2013, Paula Deen came under fire after a lawsuit was filed against her by a former manager of one of her restaurants which claimed she was sexually harassed and worked in an environment full of racial slurs. Deen was quickly fired from The Food Network. However, she did several interviews to help clear her name. She sat down with Matt Lauer. During the interview, she broke down in tears and said, “I is what I is, and I’m not changing.”
My Toaster Is Possessed By The Devil, 1984
In 1984, the “Today” show interviewed a woman named June O’Brien. This woman claimed her toaster was possessed by the devil and it branded her bread with “Satan Lives.” Furthermore, she claimed the toaster spoke to her with a voice that sound “like Eli Wallach.” Of course, interviewer, Richard Dominick was curious as to why the woman hadn’t thrown away the toaster if she believed this to be true. She replied, “when all is said and done, it makes good toast.”
A Monkey Becomes Today’s Mascot, 1953
The “Today” Show debuted in 1952. However, by 1953, it seemed like the show was not going to succeed. The show struggled with ratings and finding advertisers. Therefore, creators knew they needed something completely unique to make the show a little more fun. In January 1953, chimpanzee, J. Fred Muggs, debuted as the show’s mascot. The introduction of Muggs helped boost the ratings. He retired as the mascot in 1957.
‘Today’ Gets A Front Row Seat At The Royal Wedding, 1981
Before Kate and William, there was Charles and Diana. “Today” sent Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley to cover the Royal Wedding in 1981. It was the most-watched broadcast in “Today” history, at the time. Recalling the event, Pauley said “People waiting in the church didn’t have the seat that we had. We had that front row seat.” Brokaw added “I had not been a royal enthusiast at that point, but I must say, it was one of the greatest weeks of my life…You couldn’t help but be swept away by the tsunami of joyfulness.”
Walters Becomes First-Ever Female Anchor, 1974
“Today” hired Barbara Walters as a writer in 1961. She rose through the ranks and was promoted to co-anchor, alongside Jim Hartz, in 1974. This was a huge milestone across news networks. With this promotion, Barbara Walters became the first female co-anchor on a major news program. Of course, this was only the beginning of Walters’ legendary career.
Annoucement Of The Matt Lauer’s Dismissal, 2017
On November 29, 2017, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced that NBC had fired host Matt Lauer, due to recently surfaced allegations. Guthrie read on-air the e-mail sent to NBC staff from NBC News chairman Andy Lack. The e-mail said that network executives had received complaints about Lauer’s behavior in the workplace and they were also “presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident…We are deeply saddened by this turn of events but we will face it together as a news organization—and do it in as transparent a manner as we can.”