A respected broadcast journalist who spent decades tackling hard-hitting news stories such as AIDS, white supremacy and adoption scams before becoming the no-nonsense moderator of the popular daytime talk show The View
, Vieira began her career in the 1970s as a radio announcer. Her combination of good looks and sharp intelligence made her a natural for on-camera work, and she spent the 1980s and early 1990s at CBS, appearing on the network's evening news and morning shows and eventually becoming a correspondent on 60 Minutes
. She left the lauded newsmagazine in 1991 when she became pregnant with her second child, but she didn't stay out of the spotlight for long. Two years later she jumped to ABC, and after a four-year stint hosting the now-defunct series Turning Point
, she lent her journalistic credibility to The View
, where she helped keep her outspoken cohosts on topic and under control. A devoted mother of three, Vieira effortlessly connected with viewers on a personal level by sharing details about her life, including her husband Richard Cohen's struggles with multiple sclerosis and colon cancer. She then branched out by hosting the syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
in 2002, which earned her a Daytime Emmy in 2005 and led to her setting a record for hosting more episodes of a game show than any other woman. In September 2006 she took over Katie Couric's spot on NBC's long-running morning show Today
. With these jobs, Vieira has often let a more playful side of herself show, such as when she flirted with a naval officer who was a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
and when she went along with Jay Leno's joke that she once worked for Naked News
. She has also had to deal with headline-grabbing rumors since joining Today
, including denying that she and cohost Matt Lauer were having an affair. Aside from hosting jobs, Vieira occasionally can be seen (or just heard) in films: She provided voices for characters in Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa
and Shrek Forever After
.Meredith Vieira Fast Facts:
- Became a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York in 1979; in 1982, went national as a Chicago-based reporter for CBS News. It was in Chicago that she met her husband, Richard Cohen, who was a producer for The CBS Evening News.
- Was one of the hosts of CBS's newsmagazine West 57th, which debuted in 1985, and won four Emmys for her work on the program. She later won Emmys for 60 Minutes and the ABC newsmagazine Turning Point, as well as a Daytime Emmy for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
- Asked to pose nude by Playboy magazine in 2000; she said no.
- Became host of the syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2002; set a record for hosting more episodes of a game show than any other woman.
- On April 2, 2003, she made her one-night-only Broadway debut as an "honorary cast member" in the Tony Award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.
- In 2009, Jay Leno joked in a monologue that her long career included a stint on Naked News (the segment included her head photoshopped on someone else's body); she played along and said it was "just one month" when she saw the piece on The Today Show.
- Playfully hit on a naval officer who was a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2009.
- Accidentally cursed during a live segment of The Today Show in 2010.
- In 2010, she denied tabloid rumors that she was having an affair with her cohost Matt Lauer.
- Has done some acting work on TV and in movies, including providing voices for characters in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Shrek Forever After.
- Meredith Vieira Relationships:
- Edwin Vieira - Father
- Benjamin Edwin Cohen - Son
- Mary Elsie Vieira - Mother
- Gabriel Anthony Cohen - Son
- Lily Max Cohen - Daughter
- Richard M. Cohen - Husband
- Tufts University, Medford, MA (BA in English, 1975)