Now that the cat is out of the bag, I’d like to mention that I do have a few stipulations when it comes to my late-night/early-morning television dance. For starters, I make sure that the volume is always lowered to a comfortable, non-intrusive level “6.” Secondly, the channel must be set to “4” before I head into my semi-dream state. Why, you ask? Because I like waking up to the Today show…and because of my “dedicated viewer” status, I’d like to officially toss Tamron Hall’s name into the hat for that now vacant co-anchor slot. I just feel that it’s my duty.
When I relocated from New York to Los Angeles, I fell into my old habit of watching local news in the a.m. As a former Good Day New York junkie, I naively assumed that I’d get the same sustenance from L.A.-based shows, but no dice. Now don’t get me wrong; I love a salacious celebrity-driven story as much as the next girl, but this town is obsessed – obsessed! – with all things Hollywood, which can be a bit much, especially at 7 a.m. After a few months, I realized that I needed to expand my horizons, so I sampled a handful of national news shows and settled on Matt Lauer, Al Roker and the gang. I’ve shared many, many mornings with the Today show crew and quite honestly, I’m happy to see them on my screen each weekday, whether they’re reporting on Washington happenings, the royal wedding or even the upcoming Olympics. They’re like my comfort food, you know?
When Meredith signed off last June, I actually got choked up when she took her final lap around 30 Rock. I was really sad to see her go, but life moves on and news anchors change, right? (Speaking of which, I’m still reeling from the fact that NBC-New York didn’t renew my beloved Sue Simmons’ contract, after 30+ years on the air, but don’t even get me started on that. Sue Simmons rules!) Getting back to Today, I was happy to know that Ann Curry, who’d put in her time at the news desk, would land the coveted gig. Good for her, I thought. Although I’m not necessarily a fan of her “whisper interview” technique, I was thrilled to know that she was being recognized and rewarded for her efforts. I mean, isn’t that why we’re all working our butts off?
Okay, so fast-forward a year and it seems that Ann is now taking the heat for the show’s dip in ratings. How is that fair? It’s not, really, but in the morning-TV game, there is little room for compassion. Rumor has it that she got a cool $10 million to walk, and the name that has been floating around to replace her is Savannah Guthrie. But before the ink dries on any proposed deal, I have a question for the network suits:
How about Tamron?
Tamron frequently sits in at Today and clocks in at Weekend Today pretty often, too. She also serves as anchor for MSNBC’s NewsNation where just last month, she went toe-to-toe with conservative columnist Tim Carney and kept her composure while putting him in his place, with expert precision. Twitter was ablaze within minutes of their brisk exchange, and many people got to see what Tamron is really made of. She’s whip-smart, quick on her feet and knows how to handle herself on camera. On top of all of that, she’s absolutely gorg, effortlessly coifed and always über-fab. Oh, and she’s got an Emmy nomination under her belt, to boot. All that said, Tamron gets my vote and I know that I’m not alone. When I referenced the Today shake-up on Facebook recently, the first comment on the thread was, “Tamron Hall Please!" Hear, hear.
In life, as in morning television, the stakes remain high, so who really knows how this Today situation will play out. Seems we’ll just have to wait and see, huh? But no matter what happens or who ends up in the co-anchor chair alongside Matt, I will still keep the volume low and the channel set on the tube before I retire for the evening. I’m also going to keep an eye out for Ms. Tamron because I think she’s definitely the next contender. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her, too.
Regina R. Robertson is West Coast Editor of ESSENCE. Follow her on Twitter @reginarobertson.